NASCAR at Darlington: Was the Commentator’s Curse on Full Display at Last Sunday’s Race?

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Kyle Busch has led 17,981 laps during his NASCAR Cup Series career. And when he took the lead on lap 14 from Kevin Harvick at Darlington Raceway Sunday, it seemed inevitable he would reach 18,000. That was until 8 laps later when Fox announcer Mike Joy commented on the impending milestone.

Within seconds, BeyondTheFlag reported, Busch’s tire went flat and he spun out, ceding the lead to Martin Truex Jr. He never retook the lead, leaving him 11 laps short of 18,000. The commentator curse strikes again.

If you’re not familiar with the commentator curse, it’s a phenomenon where an announcer makes a presumption and dooms that from happening. Joe Buck has joked that he has powers that can cause kickers to miss field goals simply by saying how accurate that kicker has been.

“There are few things I relish more than affecting the outcome of kicks, no-hitters, wins and losses from the broadcast booth,” he joked. “It’s fun. It’s power that cannot fall into the wrong hands.”

So when Mike Joy told viewers to stay put and prepare for Busch to reach this moment, he all but doomed the driver of No. 18 Toyota from reaching his goal.

If you believe in that sort of thing.

Martin Truex Jr. went on to win the Goodyear 400 Sunday. It’s Truex Jr.’s NASCAR Cup Series-high third win of the season and the 30th of his career. Of the race’s 293 laps, Truex Jr. led for 248 of them.

Kyle Busch Slams NASCAR Over Tweet

Kyle Busch started and finished third on Sunday after winning at Kansas last week. It was a solid showing for the 36-year-old Joe Gibbs driver. But you wouldn’t have gotten that opinion from NASCAR’s tweet about the race.

Busch responded to the tweet, slamming NASCAR for their “tag lines.”

“U guys r so stupid w your wanna b tag lines. Every week u praise the winner and shame those following,” he tweeted.

According to, Kyle Busch was feeling pretty good about the performance he and his team delivered.

“Solid day overall with our M&M’S 80th Anniversary Toyota. Definitely better than some of our other 750 package races, but just missing a little bit on the long run. It seemed like we could fire off with [Martin] Truex there and hang with him a little bit. Actually, we would catch him for about five laps, and then it was over. Just trying to hold on after that point. Overall, real good day,” he said.