Home » HEADLINE, NASCAR - Nationwide Series, NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Kurt, Dude, What The Heck Are You Thinking?

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, June 6 2012

Justin Allgaier and Kurt Busch have words after Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Dover. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

Perhaps the craziest thing about the latest incident involving Kurt Busch is this: It was a great question that the reporter asked. It was an essential question and had Busch answered it, he would be getting ready to head to Pocono today and NASCAR fans would know a lot more about an important subject.

The incident occurred after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway last Saturday. Busch, driving a car owned by his brother’s Kyle Busch Motorsports, was involved in an extremely minor on-track skirmish with Turner Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier.

After the race, the two drivers took their feelings to pit road and exchanged words. Busch and Allgaier then went their own ways.

A couple minutes later, Busch was confronted by reporters as he made his way back to the safety of his hauler or motorhome.

Veteran journalist Bob Pockrass asked him if the fact that he was put on probation for what NASCAR deemed reckless driving on pit road and, a post-race shoving match involving his crew and that of driver Ryan Newman after the Sprint Cup event at Darlington last month, affected the rather restrained way he drove against Allgaier.

Again, great question. It seeks competitor insight into several important, topical NASCAR issues. Issues

Kurt Busch and friends walk up Dover's pit road prior to Saturday's race. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

including the effect of penalties on racing, Busch’s always-in-question state of mind, the concept of “Have at it, boys”, the search for keeping things safe but exciting, exactly what the heck probation means in NASCAR.

Make no mistake, there are a lot of really lame questions being asked in garages and media center  these days – more than ever as newspapers turn to amateurs, as local television continues to struggle with doing anything professionally and as social media bloggers are granted access.

Yes, a good many – OK, lots – of those lame questions have come from my mouth.

But that was not a lame question and Pockrass is no amateur. He is the most professional, most dedicated journalist in the sport right now. He is on top of every subject – from the technical aspects of the most technical sport in the world, to the business side of the most business-oriented sport in the world. Wish he worked for me.

For asking a great question, he was treated, basically, to what is known in the legal profession as assault; Busch said that had he not been on probation, he would have beat the s–t out of Pockrass.

Should Busch have been suspended for that? Had he not been on probation, I think not. All journalists who have spent time around athletes – who by nature are temperamental and edgy – have experienced some kind of abuse; verbal and, yes, physical. (I remember the time I got hit in the face with a rather forcefully thrown wet towel in an NBA locker room.)

Kinda goes with the job. My guess is Pockrass feels the same way.

Then there is the sidebar issue that Busch should not have been on probation in the first place. Not if NASCAR means what it says about penalties not being the result of  driver history. What Busch did in Darlington did not warrant anything but a stern look.

I’ve spent a bit of time around Busch. The moods of those times ranged from very pleasant to extremely awkward. I know that I have contributed to the awkward moods and that Busch contributed to the pleasant ones.

And I know that Busch is not the first driver to curse and bully reporters. It wasn’t just fellow competitors who were intimidated by the driver of the No. 3 black car back in the day.

But this time, Busch blew it.

First, for the reason for the bullying.

Second, for the timing of it. Dude, you lost one of the best rides in all of motorsports for doing exactly the same thing to a different reporter last season. This time, you appeared to show malice and forethought by acknowledging you were aware of your probationary status.

One of the traits which makes race-car drivers great is their ability to make absolutely correct decisions on the spot – to think split seconds into the future and then react in real time. With Busch, that trait has been left on the track when he heads off the track.

And now, you have been suspended for a weekend. And, worse, you’re very career is on the line as your current team owner, James Finch, reportedly told media members this week that he can’t afford to be crushed by a loose canon rolling around on his decks.

Too bad, too, because you’re a hell of wheelman and it has been a serious hoot watching you overachieve in Finch’s cars.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, June 6 2012
4 Comments

4 Comments »

  • GINO THOMAS says:

    I THINK THAT ALL MEDIA NEEDS TO LAY OFF OF HIM.YOU KNOW AS WELL AS I DO,IF YOU DON’T ASK THAT DUMB ASS QUESTION YOU WON’T GET THAT DUMB ASS ANSWER ….

  • Taylor Pinkston says:

    I think its ridiculous. Kurt obviously isn’t the nicest guy in the world. But seriously, everybody gets tired of hearing all the politically correct answers from all the drivers. Personally, I hate hearing a Dale Jr interview between the uhhhs and pauses is all the I’d like to thank my sponsors, team, blah blah blah. Its so boring. Everybody wants to see some personality. Kurt shows his personality and he gets chastised like he is the only one in the world that has ever been an asshole. Why is Tony Stewart never chastised for the way he treats media members? Maybe if media members didn’t shove cameras down driver’s throats right after a grueling race, they wouldn’t get degrading answers. Just my personal opinion.

  • Tony Geinzer says:

    I’m not gonna lie: I feel Finch will always have HOFers, Title Winners and Legends, but Kurt will always haunt him. I feel Ex-00 needs a Better Job and Dinger needs to be in Ohio, which Shank didn’t deserve to be stiffed outta Indy. Rick Ren didn’t deserve to be treated like a Ray Lewis Family Dog and Kyle needs to be cut with Logano, for the sake of M and Ms and Mars. The litigantcy of Kurt and Kyle Busch is just started and it is a rude lesson for future drivers and fans.

  • Ed Smith says:

    Thanks, Jim, for admitting that reporters (ALL reporters, not just motorsports journalists) do often ask stupid, lame questions. But I agree that the question that was asked of Kurt Busch was a good, valid question. It appears that Kurt Busch will never get his anger under control, or his personal issues straightened out, or whatever he needs to stay in the game. But remember, he’s certainly not the first professional athlete to torpedo his career with foot-in-mouth disease.