Google+

A Look at NASCAR’s Villain?

A Look at NASCAR’s Villain?

 

Believe it or not, a list has hit the internet regarding the most ’disliked’ people in sports.  Seems when it comes to the world of racing, Kurt Busch arrives on the list in the number ten spot. Of course, when you look back, Busch does have several strikes against him. From profanity-laced tirades he’s given on team radio communications, to cursing a television reporter at Homestead in November, to coming head-to-head with Roger Penske, Kurt Busch has made sure to get on a great deal of bad-guy lists.

 

For those of you who don’t know, Kurt Thomas Busch drives the No. 51 TAG Heuer Chevrolet Impala for Phoenix Racing in the Spring Cup Series.  He has also driven for Penske Racing and Roush Fenway Racing throughout his career.

 

Beginning in 2001, Busch has been the winner of twenty-four Cup races and the 2004 championship, also giving his talents in the Pro Stock division of NHRA. A third-generation race car driver, his father won several NASCAR events, and he is the older brother of Kyle Busch – also a NASCAR driver.

 

His racing life has been filled with ups and downs.  It was during the 2000 season that Busch was being promoted to the Winston Cup series as a replacement for Chad Little for the upcoming 2001 season. Little was released near the end of the season and Busch ran several races, finishing 48th in the points with no top fives, top tens, or even any wins under his name.

 

Running for ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 2001, Busch did start 35 of 36 races with no wins, although he finally scored three top fives and six top tens that year. Running his first several races in an un-sponsored car which was due to John Deere pulling its sponsorship from Newell Rubbermaid before he signed with them, one of the most interesting occurrences was when he and Dale Earnhardt crossed paths in the Daytona 500 – only to have Dale give him a one-finger salute out his window. This was the same day that Dale experienced his final fatal crash at the end of the race. Busch finished in 27th place in the championship standings, did come in as the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, and earned more than $2 million in winnings.

 

But it was in 2002 when the world watched Busch break away from the pack in the Winston Cup Series. He won his first race in Bristol that spring, added a second win at Martinsville in October, won at Atlanta the next week and Homestead in the season finale. Scoring four wins, twelve top fives and twenty top tens – with one pole – and finishing third in the final standings, he was beyond strong. Finishing third brought his winnings to over $5 million. 2003 and 2004 came along as positive, yet up-and-down seasons when it came to wins and financial gain, but soon 2005 was once again glowing as Busch won three races, along with nine top five and eighteen top ten finishes out of thirty-four runs.

 

Roush Racing was left behind when Kurt joined Penske Racing South in 2006. He’d actually asked the team owner, Jack Roush, to let him out of his contract but Roush initially refused. However, times soon changed and after Ganassi was released from his 2006 contract, Roush decided to release Busch. In the 2006 season, driving for Penske, Busch scored one win at Bristol Motor Speedway – his fifth win at the track – and actually celebrated by getting out of his car and making a snow angel right there in front of all the fans. Winning six poles and having seven top fives and twelve top ten finishes, he still finished only 16th in the final standings.

 

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 2009 season at the Daytona 500 that Busch was involved in a wreck on lap 124, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. swerved into Brian Vickers, sending Vickers shooting up the track and into the wall. Busch made numerous pit stops to repair his car, and was able to finish tenth. When it came to sibling versus sibling, Busch picked up another win at the 2009 Dickies 500 when his brother, Kyle, simply ran out of fuel with only two laps to go. In 2011, Kurt would meet a similar fate when racing in the Daytona 500. Busch won the pole and led most of the race, but a fuel pickup issue late in the race ended his chances of winning.

 

Something else ended in 2011, which was Busch’s employment with Penske Racing – terminated on December 5th. Although many sport’s insiders said that he was fired, Busch claimed that the parting was absolutely mutual, and that he was grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years of his career.

 

Controversies have plagued the driver throughout his career thus far. Everything from the 2005 Phoenix incident, where his season was cut short after a confrontation during the race weekend with Sheriff’s deputies. He was pulled over for suspicion of drunken driving and cited for reckless driving, and Roush Racing suspended Busch for the remainder of the season. It was the team president, Geoff Smith, who declared quite loudly that they were “officially retiring as Kurt Busch’s apologists.”

 

But that wasn’t all. In the final race of the 2011 season, Busch finished forty-seven laps behind the leaders, after spending a great deal of time in the garage for mechanical issues. While turning into the garage, Busch made an obscene hand gesture, and while his car was undergoing repairs, he verbally abused Dr. Jerry Punch while waiting to be interviewed by Punch for ESPN. In this never-ending day of technology, this embarrassing incident was captured by a fan and posted on YouTube for everyone to see. Fined by NASCAR in the amount of $50,000 for his actions during the race, Penske Racing did try to stop the backlash and issued an apology for Busch’s “inappropriate actions.” Something this driver seems to be quite good at.

 

The feuds with rival drivers also made the cover of many a magazine. In fact, in the February 2006 edition of GQ, Kurt was noted on the top ten ‘most hated athletes’ list (although that time he made number three, so apparently he‘s getting more well-liked as time goes on.)

 

Busch has had notable screaming-matches and run-ins with everyone from Greg Biffle to Jimmie Johnson to Kevin Harvick. It was on June 4, 2007, at the Autism Speaks 400 being held at Dover International Speedway that he actually drove beside a fellow racecar on the pit road and yet again waved his familiar ‘salute’ through his window netting. Not only was he penalized 100 championship points and fined another $100,000, but he was also placed on probation until the end of the year.

 

That same race car driver would later take his revenge during practice for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, by clipping the back end of Busch’s car and sending him into the wall. After sustaining major damage, Busch drove towards his enemy and proceeded to ram his car three times before trying to return to the garage after the practice was called.

 

As Busch heads into the 2012 season with Phoenix Racing, a team that leans heavily on Hendrick Motorsports for support, the owner, James Finch, has brought Busch on board…happily. Publicly, Busch says he now realizes that his bad behavior stemmed from being too tightly wound, too sponsor conscious and having no ability to relax and just be himself.

 

We’ll see, but one thing is for sure – as everyone heads to the track and gets ready to witness the ‘best of the best,’ they will certainly get an eyeful of the worst, as Kurt gears up to take on any enemy that’s out there on the track.

This article is sponsored by:  www.befirstinc.com  www.roadtrekin.com  and www.smallbusinessowner.com


 

REQUEST INFORMATION

Entertainment

Freed Kidnap Victim Adjusts to Reality in Touching Character Study

  Brigsby Bear Film Review by Kam Williams Freed Kidnap Victim Adjusts to Reality in Touching Character Study  Brigsby Bear revolves around an age-old premise that's tough to establish and maintain convincingly, namely, the plight of a sheltered protagonist blissfully unaware of reality. Four films come quickly to mind which succeeded at plausibly presenting just such a plotline. In Room (2015), we witnessed a little boy being … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period represented a window of opportunity for African-Americans... Many [Black] political leaders emerged … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance your home, you need to do it ASAP. If choosing to wait too much longer, homeowners across the … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide

  Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide by Amy Lignor   Much like the political realm, there will always be debates and disagreements when it comes to the technological realm—especially when it comes to your health versus the almighty cellphone. Now, it is a fact that communication in the 21st century literally brought about a revolution. Mobile devices are being used and will remain at the top of “must have” lists for all ages for … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Something for Everyone at Home Run Fishing Charters and Lodge

  Something for Everyone at Home Run Fishing Charters and Lodge By Craig Lamb Hooking up to freight train runs with a bull-sized redfish. Airborne largemouth on topwaters. Getting sore-armed from catching fat speckled trout. And all of those species caught from the same spot. Sounds impossible. In the inshore waters of Louisiana, and around the saltwater fishing capital of Venice, that is a reality.   The most fertile fishing … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

What Some of the NFL Players Did On Summer Vacation

  What Some of the NFL Players Did On Summer Vacation   The return of football action continues to creep closer – less than 50 days to go before the 2017 NFL season finally kicks off. Everyone can already feel it in the air…even though the air is still amazingly hot in some places. But even the TV ads are bringing back, and placing brand new NFL commercials in spots, reminding everyone about the players with great names and those … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Is Social Media Still Growing?

  Is Social Media Still Growing? by Amy Lignor   It was in 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled, “Business @ the Speed of Thought.” Within these pages, the man who became the computer world’s wizard made massively bold predictions that, at the time, sounded ridiculous and outrageous to those who read them. But when you look at how the social media realm has grown over the past few decades, it is important to take note that not only … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too!

  Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too! by Amy Lignor   Most children (and adults, too) will either roll their eyes or sigh when, while speaking about vacation locations, the word “learning” just happens to be mentioned. Yes, it is a fact that school trips take all of us during our younger years to everything from museums to libraries to historic locations in order to teach us things we should know. But when thinking about your … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]