Kyle Busch apparently has regressed from being NASCAR's latest bad boy to being an infantile thrillionaire pop-culture icon, a la Britney Spears.

He won a Nationwide Series race at Nashville on Saturday night and was presented with a unique trophy - a revered Gibson Les Paul guitar that had been hand-painted by longtime NASCAR artist Sam Bass and has become the symbol of Nashville Speedway.

Busch brandished the guitar over his head for a few seconds while standing atop his car. He then hopped down and stunned onlookers by smashing the special instrument to bits on the concrete with repeated hatchet-like blows.

All this, by the way, with Bass watching.

Sounds like a great way to ingratiate himself with the fans in Music City.

A deadline for Favre? ESPN yesterday reported that Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress had given Brett Favre a deadline of the end of this week for deciding whether to play this season.

But later yesterday former NFL executive Pat Kirwan, now of Sirius NFL Radio, told his audience on his "Movin' The Chains" show that there is no deadline.

He added that "the [ESPN] story was made up."

According to Kirwan, "Favre is on his way to Minnesota, and it may be around July 15. It might be earlier."

Kirwan is friendly with Childress and frequently has had the Vikings coach on his show as a guest.

So far there's no clue as to who's right. Favre remained silent, as he has since "retiring" in February. A Vikings official said the team would have no comment, and Favre's agent, Bus Cook, did not return phone calls seeking a response.

This latest flare-up came a day after ESPN reported that the 39-year-old quarterback had undergone arthroscopic surgery to repair a partially torn biceps in his right arm.

No one has any explanation as to why Favre would have submitted to a surgical process if he was not going to at least try to play.

Ten-hut! Coaches Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens will be visiting U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf region this summer.

Former coaches Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher also will be part of the USO tour involving NFL personnel.

There is no truth to the rumor that Coughlin will assess sprints and push-ups to any soldier who comes to the meeting less than five minutes early.