It’s been all over the web for a few days but if you haven’t heard the latest news about Kurt Busch here is the latest Busch bashing of the season. People tend to complain about him a lot this year. Anyway, here’s the story.
It started with a simple question to Kurt Busch from NASCAR.com reporter Joe Menzer following two on-camera interviews by ESPN and MRN on pit road at Richmond International Raceway. “Kurt, can either you or Jimmie win the Chase&” Menzer began to ask. Before Menzer could finish his thought, Busch cut him off. “How did I see you were going to come with that? We’re good.” Busch said. In an attempt to end the interview, Busch turned away and started walking down pit road. Menzer called after him and said the question was legitimate following the multiple incidents with Jimmie Johnson during Saturday night’s race. At that moment, Busch turned around yelling expletives at Menzer, coming at him as if he wanted to fight. As he called Menzer names and continued to try to get at him, team members from Busch’s Penske Racing team had to physically restrain Busch.(SB Nation)
It was the 2004 champion, though, who seemed to be feeling the pressure afterward. He castigated a reporter during a pit-road interview and renewed a heated discussion with him before a news conference 30 minutes later in the media center. He then challenged another reporter who asked Johnson to respond to Busch’s contention that he was in the five-time champion’s head. “I didn’t say that tonight,” retorted Busch, who later tore up a transcript of the interview (which was broadcast on national TV) handed to him by the reporter. “Did not.”(USA Today and more news on this at Sports Illustrated)(9-11-2011)
NASCAR said Monday it does not plan to take disciplinary measures after driver Kurt Busch’s unsavory interactions with two media members following Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. And, in an apparent effort to clear the air, the Penske Racing driver contacted the reporters individually Monday; both reporters confirmed that Busch had apologized. Busch shouted expletives at one reporter on pit road who tried to ask about his ongoing rivalry with Jimmie Johnson (the drivers had two on-track scrapes Saturday) and had to be physically restrained by Penske Racing teammates. NASCAR, which promotes a “boys, have at it” approach to on-track discipline, indicated it wasn’t going to entirely sweep Busch’s actions under the rug. “No disciplinary action is planned,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “But we will be following up and discussing with Kurt this week.”(USA Today)(9-13-2011)
I’m not going to be the ultimate sympathizer and say that Kurt was totally right in what he did. I believe there was a much better way that he could have handled the situation at the time, but in the heat of trouble sometimes people forget things, like manners. It can be quite frustrating to be a fan when you hear stuff like that. People will make fun of Kurt Busch fans all the more after this incident. Before we cast judgement we should attempt to get inside his head…and the media…surprise, surprise…will help us do just that.
When Kurt Busch blew up at, and allegidly tried to fight the seemingly mild mannered Joe Menzer and ripped up the transcript that another reporter gave to him at a following press conference, I doubt it was just because of that one incident that he was frustrated. He did genuinely apologize to both reporters…but that won’t be the part that is remembered This is not all about his rivalry with Jimmie Johnson (although Kurt has been running a lot better since that started…go figure) I could be wrong but I believe Kurt’s latest actions were in response to the way the media has portrayed him this season. Kurt has had his more than his share of bad luck this year, from starting off the year with cars which preformed well below par (which caused a relatively justifiable outburst and better communication in the team afterward…so it wasn’t all bad. Next was the story of the disolving of his marriage to Eva. Thirdly was the rivalry between Kurt and Jimmie Johnson, most of which was portrayed with Busch being the bad guy…even though it takes two to have a NASCAR rivalry. To cap it all off, there was this aforementioned incident between Busch and members of the media.
The vast majority of news publicized about Kurt Busch has been extremely negative. People like to read it and make fun of him. However, they forget that he had to live through these unfortunate circumstances, which would be hard enough without having to read about them in every single report of himself. In spite of all of this, Busch remains a legitimate contender for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and that is very impressive.
Now imagine if this was you. You wouldn’t want every bad thing you had ever done or had happen to you to be publicized so others could read about it and make judgements about you without even knowing you or your circumstances.
I am not trying to bash the press or anything, it is their job to cover the stories that make the news. I’m just saying that a little positivity wouldn’t hurt in certain situations. Hopefully folks will be able to get past this latest event and get ready to enjoy a great Chase for the Cup.