Busch back on track after legal controversy

col-cathyelliott (2)If I had to list the drivers people have asked me about over the years, Kurt Busch wouldn’t be in the top 10. But over the course of the past several weeks, he has been number one.

I’ve internally debated what my response should be. Do I defend NASCAR’s decision to suspend Busch from racing for a couple of weeks while waiting for a court’s decision on whether or not to bring criminal charges against him? (He was reinstated in time for the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway, where he started on the pole.)

Do I loudly decry violence against women – or against anyone, for that matter – for the whole wide world to hear? Do I decline to say anything at all? Most importantly, does it even matter what I think?

Call it self-congratulatory, but I haven’t heard many women sticking up for Kurt, so I kind of think it might.

I have only one had one meaningful encounter with Kurt Busch. Here’s what happened.

I was the director of public relations at Darlington Raceway on March 18, 2003 – that was back in the glory days when Darlington had two annual Sprint Cup Series weekend; just thought I’d throw that one out there, NASCAR – when fans who came for a race left as witnesses to history.

It was the day Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch (who was battling the car as well as the track since his power steering had gone out several laps earlier), to the checkered flag by .002 seconds. It was the closest finish in NASCAR history, and one heck of a show.

We brought Kurt and Ricky back to the track for a media event, and as part of the old-school promotional silliness that Darlington was famous for back in the day, asked them to put on boxing gloves and pose for a photo op on the start/finish line. They declined the invitation to wear the satin trunks, citing skin allergies or something like that. Go figure.

Think about it; it’s great to be part of the closest-ever finish if you end up in Victory Lane at the end of the day, but for the second-place guy, well … you kind of become the sport’s most famous loser. Yet Kurt Busch, without complaint, drove himself from the Charlotte area to Darlington, SC on a Tuesday morning and posed for a slightly embarrassing photo to promote a race at a track where he had never scored a win.

In all my years at Darlington, I can honestly say I never worked with anyone more gracious and accommodating.

In a court of law, one person can hang a jury. In the court of public opinion, this may be more akin to a lone voice crying in the wilderness, saying something that few agree with.

We have seen Kurt Busch lose his temper and let his mouth get the better of him. That’s happened to me; it’s probably happened to you, too. We have seen him blame his co-workers, AKA his team members, for a poor job performance. I’ve done that; you probably have, too. We have seen him lose jobs as a result of his questionable behavior; that’s probably happened to some of us, too.

And we have definitely experienced the thrill of seeing him race. Week after week, he reminds us that as far as pure driving ability goes, he is as good as anyone in NASCAR, and better than most. Like him or not, you can’t deny his talent. I love to watch Kurt Busch drive that stock car, and hope I’ll be able to continue doing that for a very long time.

The details of Busch’s domestic problems have been prominently featured by most national news outlets for a number of weeks now – where is all this coverage when the really positive stuff happens in NASCAR, by the way? – so I don’t feel the need to reiterate them here.

I do, however, feel the need to stick up for the guy. If we’re going to judge somebody and endanger the décor of our glass houses in the process, then whenever possible we should try to base our opinions on what we know of the person in question through our own experience.

For me, it’s time to put these recent events in the rearview, stop talking about it already, and get on with the so-far exciting 2015 racing season. The court system couldn’t find a reason to charge Kurt Busch with anything; who are we to judge?

Cathy Elliott is the former director of public relations for Darlington Raceway and author of the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: NASCAR and Darlington Raceway: Too Tough To Tame. Contact her at cathyelliott@hotmail.com.

Comments

comments

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debut

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debutOn the road for 12-straight days, which included a 10-day [more]

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia Tech

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia TechThe No. 2 Clemson football team opened 2018 ACC play [more]

Gamecocks bounce back from week off, beat Vandy

Gamecocks bounce back from week off, beat VandyJake Bentley threw for 261 yards and a touchdown, and [more]

CCU men, women score soccer shutouts on road

CCU men, women score soccer shutouts on roadThe Coastal Carolina men's soccer team had not played another [more]

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloat

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloatThe SCHSL's executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the [more]

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awards

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awardsMyrtle Beach Pelicans infielder Jared Young was named the Chicago [more]

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane Florence

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane FlorenceJust four days removed and 142 miles away from its [more]

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting class

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting classFor the first time in Coastal Carolina baseball program history, [more]

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curve

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curveIn response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence and [more]

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill Classic

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill ClassicCoast FA returned to the beach with five championship and [more]

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meet

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meetThe Carolina Forest boys finished second and the Myrtle Beach [more]

Chants explode in second half to cruise past Blazers

Chants explode in second half to cruise past BlazersCoastal Carolina football used a number of big offensive plays [more]

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat Braves

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat BravesThe No. 4-ranked Myrtle Beach football team celebrated Neon Night [more]

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized Sharks

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized SharksWithout raising his voice, without screaming his face red or [more]

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeaten

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeatenJackson Weatherwax knew he had the ball. Late in the fourth [more]

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless* Hartsville 35, Conway 0: The Tigers (0-4) remained winless [more]

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off Braves

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off BravesThe three-time reigning state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. Blazers

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. BlazersThe Coastal Carolina football team will open up its 2018 [more]

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over Bruins

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over BruinsThe Conway High volleyball team improved to 6-0 Thursday by [more]

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settle

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settleMyrtle Beach junior quarterback Luke Doty has had this week's [more]

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over Aynor

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over AynorThe Carolina Forest girls tennis team served up a victory [more]

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourney

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourneyAfter posting back-to-back shutouts, Coastal Carolina's Chris Datallo has been [more]

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto Preview

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto PreviewThe three-time defending state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debut

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debutOn the road for 12-straight days, which included a 10-day [more]

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia Tech

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia TechThe No. 2 Clemson football team opened 2018 ACC play [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach