My Brain on NASCAR: Time for Kurt Busch to take a chill pill

When discussing the manner in which an athlete responds to the media, how far do you have to go in order to go too far?

This has been a hot topic for quite some time now, thanks to Kurt Busch. Never known for his reticence, devotees of driver-to-crew-chief radio communications spent all of last season and most of this one listening to the vocal stylings of the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

Kurt has regularly berated his crew, his fellow drivers and pretty much anyone else who irritated him. His method of doing so is by using language that, where I come from, would have gotten you popped upside the head by your mama who, in case you didn’t know, brought you into this world and can most certainly take you out of it.

The nastiness cake got its icing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Nov. 2011. After transmission problems forced Busch to make an early exit from the race, he was asked to wait around until ESPN was ready for an on-air interview. Frustration and disappointment combined to create a Scud missile of rage, which was launched directly at ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch, scoring a direct hit in the form of the now infamous profanity-laced tirade.

Busch messed with the wrong Marine. While fans might not know or even care much about the beat writers who diligently toil week to week on the NASCAR circuit, they feel a real connection with certain television personalities, and Dr. Punch is one of the most well-respected and best-liked of the bunch.

As a result of what we’ll go ahead and call a hissy fit, Kurt lost his job with Penske Racing and he probably lost a number of fans, as well. He publicly expressed his remorse, acknowledged that he had a problem, and vowed to change.

Change did come, in the form of a new job with underfunded Phoenix Racing, and seemingly in a (slightly) chastened Busch, but it didn’t last long. At Darlington Raceway in May, some reckless driving on pit road and a post-race fracas with members of Ryan Newman’s team earned Busch a $50,000 fine and NASCAR’s “double secret probation,” which most anyone would laugh and tell you doesn’t really amount to much.

Except this time, it did. At Dover International Speedway on June 2, when asked a fairly benign question regarding whether his probation refrained him from doing certain things on the track by Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News (see beat writers who diligently toil week to week on the NASCAR circuit, above), Busch blew his internal transmission.

“It refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions,” he said. “But since I’m on probation, I suppose that’s improper to say as well.”

OK, here’s where you need to get comfortable and prepare to call me names, because I’m going to defend Kurt Busch just a little bit.

We all have our individual ways of expressing anger, although none of them are particularly pretty. Some people lash out physically – I have yet to meet a man who hasn’t punched a wall at one time or another – while others internalize their feelings and foment stomach ulcers. Some people holler, while others prefer to employ the dreaded silent treatment.

While part of NASCAR’s appeal is its accessibility factor, the work environment is a pressure cooker. The drivers don’t have a locker room to retreat to after the race, to take a shower, cool down and don a natty suit before addressing the press. The instant something happens, cameras and microphones are right there in their faces, taking the term “heat of the moment” to an entirely new level, and NASCAR really bears down on its drivers when it comes to media availability. Yes, they are cosseted athletes who marry supermodels and make millions of dollars blah blah blah, but still, it is an incredibly stressful position to be in.

What would you do? Would you remain calm, courteous and politically correct? I know I probably wouldn’t.

The ongoing antics and travails of Kurt Busch – one of the most purely talented race car drivers on the track and a really nice guy when you’re just having a normal conversation with him – have been a major part of the racing storyline for months, and even years.

Let’s just go ahead and be honest and admit that we all find it wildly entertaining when a driver blows a gasket and shoots his mouth off. If Kurt could deep-six the profanity, the blame-passing and the physical threats, we would not be having this conversation right now.

So I’m officially asking his mama to intervene. A big bar of soap – maybe they could contact Proctor & Gamble and land the Ivory logo on Phoenix Racing’s unsponsored car — and a little upside-the-head action may be just what the doctor ordered. Cleaning up his mouth could go a long way toward helping Kurt Busch clean up his act.

Strand sends record-tying four seniors to Shrine Bowl

Strand sends record-tying four seniors to Shrine Bowl Horry County has had an on-again, mostly off-again relationship with [more]

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeateds

Week 3: MB, CF roll to set up battle of undefeatedsJon "JJ" Jones returned to his old stomping grounds at [more]

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat Braves

Wednesday's Roundup: SJ girls go low to beat BravesSt. James traveled to Prestwick Country Club on Wednesday to [more]

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyball

Tuesday Roundup: Wins for CF golf, NMB volleyballThe reigning Class 4A state champion North Myrtle Beach High [more]

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former school

MB transfer cleared just in time to face former schoolMyrtle Beach football player J.J. Jones has been cleared to [more]

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loop

Games go on after Dorian throws schedules for loopDespite Hurricane Dorian costing Horry County Schools a week of [more]

Chants capture historic victory over Jayhawks

Chants capture historic victory over JayhawksCoastal Carolina football recorded its first-ever win over a Power [more]

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls

Who's No. 1? Two teams atop latest football polls Like it did after last year’s state championship games, Horry [more]

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports schedule

Hurricane Dorian calls halt to Strand sports scheduleHurricane Dorian is not expected to make landfall on the [more]

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup title

Coast U-19 girls pass early test, take Atlanta Cup titleCoach R.J. Bass wanted a strong early test for his [more]

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener

Eastern Michigan spoils Coastal's season opener The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers opened their season the same way [more]

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openers

Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openersTommy Norwood tried to nix the Gatorade bath. He raised [more]

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootout

Welch wins World Am in East/West Coast shootoutWilliam Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross [more]

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-match

Golf: CF packs 1-2 punch; St. James claims tri-matchThe Carolina Forest girls golf team made a strong showing [more]

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by Warriors

Chiefs reach Border Battle finale, swept by WarriorsThe Palmetto State made a strong showing in the Border [more]

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World Am

Perfect conditions greet thousands for World AmBeautiful weather greeted the 3,215 golfers participating in the 36th [more]

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champs

Two Coast FA boys teams crowned Triangle champsTwo Coast FA boys teams returned home as champions from [more]

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at horn

Week 0: Chiefs top Tigers; Sharks beat Lions at hornMatt Reel sighed more than once when talking about his [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outing

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outingFive Coast FA boys teams entered the Charlotte Invitational over [more]

Hemingway follows family, teammates to Gamecocks

Hemingway follows family, teammates to GamecocksSix minutes after his youngest child had announced his college [more]

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country season

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country seasonBuilding on the success of the track and field season, [more]

Strand sends record-tying four seniors to Shrine Bowl

Strand sends record-tying four seniors to Shrine Bowl Horry County has had an on-again, mostly off-again relationship with [more]

Chants do it with defense for second straight week

Chants do it with defense for second straight weekNot even a 44-minute lightning delay midway through the third [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach