The Backstretch Blog: Busch League

Auto RacingESPNKurt BuschTony Stewart

I have tried to like the Busch Brothers. I really have. I too have at times been a little salty, a little hard to get along with, and many times misunderstood. And I have long been a believer that NASCAR needs the guy in the black hat. Some one that people love to hate. But I am tired of making excuses for them and their family, team sponsors and and PR machine around them should be, too.

This time it was Kurt Busch making a complete fool of himself as he waited for an ESPN interview. A cell phone camera caught him throwing a tantrum and cursing at Dr. Jerry Punch (watch it HERE:warning for language in the link). Anyone who has ever been in the garage knows that this is not the first time Busch has acted this way, nor is he the first driver to act that way. But if Kurt didn't want to talk with Dr. Punch, then he should have politely declined the interview and walked away. He didn't because he needs Dr. Punch, ESPN and the rest of the media to spin his own personal PR machine. Kudos to Dr. Punch for walking away and not giving it to him.

When Kurt Busch recently visited the Kansas Speedway for a track PR event, he shared an interesting bit of information with me that speaks to his mindset. He said to me and the two or three other media members at the table as we ate some BBQ, that even though he's on twitter, he rarely reads media tweets, because no one ever writes anything nice. I wonder why? Not to many people I know want to be around a prickly, cold and at times caustic person. Even Tony Stewart for all his blowups has a warm side that he lets out to play from time to time. Kurt didn't even look me in the eye as we did a one on one interview. He was looking over my shoulder and hard as I tired to keep the interview light and make eye contact, it just wasn't happening.

Over this off season, both Busch brothers should take a long hard look at themselves. Because I believe they are are at a cross roads. Teams sponsors and fans will eventually grow tired of the constant trouble making.

It is possible to be the black hat in the garage and carry yourself with some dignity. Dale Earnhardt made a career out of it. And it it make him a NASCAR legend. I'm not saying that either Busch brother is the next Dale Earnhardt. But they are both incredibly talented. Potential that they will not ever reach, unless they find some balance.

Because, I really want to like the Busch Brothers. I just can't condone the way they have acted this season.

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Auto RacingESPNKurt BuschTony Stewart