This is not my typical philosophical bent, I am usually a glass half full person. That being said, I was struck with a 'debbie downer' thought after watching Bristol and seeing how empty the place was.
I am going to give this way too much gravitas, but here it goes.
Kyle Busch - He's a jerk. And when you have a jerk - that almost universally is not revered, winning at the rate he is, you simply cannot take an interest in the sport.
Let's play pretend. If you had a rock star winning at the percentage that Busch is, would the sport be better? If it were Jr. in that place, where would NASCAR be today? If you believe that Jr. would have that much of an impact at the gate, then you may have to accept that Kyle, being unlikeable, would have the opposite effect.
Even if you had a Jr. in the wings, perhaps Larson or Elliott are those guys, they do not get the limelight because they are not winning. The sport focuses on who is winning.
I know, I know, some people like him. Great, amazing, talented driver - blah blah blah. I will yield to that line of thinking but to me, he is still not likable as a person. If I am not alone, and I think that I am not, then perhaps one could argue that he alone has damaged the sport.
If the bad, non-likable guy wins all the time, well I'll take my interests elsewhere.
Just a random thought, and too simplistic to pin all the problems on. Many things taint the sport we love, but I would think there is a strong argument that this one has a lot of merit to it.
PS. If you watched the telecast, you saw that DW was lauding Busch and trying to paint him in a positive light. Misguided lauding the misguided. You have a broadcaster who has worn out his welcome in many peoples eyes lauding the guy no one likes and saying you need to appreciate his talent. Thanks for that DW, glad you could show us the way. Still, the guy is a jerk or at least has demonstrated enough terrible behavior that he is not getting a pass from me, even with a DW endorsement which I respect but don't hold in high esteem because it seem so thinly veiled. Gee I am a Debbie downer today. :-)