Kurt Busch is the kind of driver people like to write about because he’s interesting. And by interesting, we mean he gets in lots of fights and shouting matches. You may argue that being combative is not what NASCAR is all about – and you’d be right… sort of. Guys don’t watch NASCAR because they want to see drivers pound each other into little-bitty driver meatballs. Guys also don’t sit through four hours of racing because they want to see somebody’s car go airborne and tumble violently down the backstretch. Uh-huh. Just like guys only buy Hustler for the cigar reviews.
However, confrontational drivers are only interesting if they are winning confrontational drivers, like Busch. If you’re not a winning driver and you’re still up in everyone’s face, then you’re just a big baby with with a load of sour grapes in your pants. Since joining the Sprint Cup full-time in 2001, Busch has amassed 19 wins and one championship in 2004, so he qualifies as winning.
One of his most widely-publicized feuds was his 2007-08 series of run-ins with Tony Stewart. After an on-track skirmish at Dover in 2007, Busch roared to a stop beside Stewart’s car on pit road and waved hello. Busch lost 100 points, was slapped with a $100,000 fine and was put on probation until the end of the season. We assume NASCAR fined him for using unauthorized hand gestures. As if getting fined once wasn’t enough, he tangled with Stewart again months later during practice for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout. Only this time, he collided with Stewart’s car on pit road – not once, but three times, and blocked him from entering the garage area. Afterward, both drivers were called to the big red trailer where an argument ensued and reportedly ended with Busch accidentally running into Stewart’s fist with his face.
Busch has also had issues with Jimmy Spencer, Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle, but he seems to have cooled off a bit after the altercation with Stewart, probably so that his younger brother Kyle could take over the position of NASCAR’s resident ass-hat.
As if he wasn’t creating enough controversy on the track, Busch decided to try his hand at creating some off the track in 2005 when he was pulled over in Phoenix for reckless driving and suspicion of drunken driving. It is unclear as to whether Busch actually failed his field sobriety test, but by the time the press caught onto the story, it was too late. Rousch Racing suspended him for the remainder of the season, and Busch was sentenced to 50 hours of community service. This incident turned out to be a good thing for Busch, because he had asked Jack Rousch to release him so that he could replace the retiring Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. The Cat In The Hat initially refused, but decided to go ahead and release him after the Phoenix incident.
Busch has not fared as well with Penske Racing as he did with Roush. He has scored five wins since joining the organization in 2006, whereas he won 14 times between 2002 and 2005 with Rousch. It does appear that he is making a return to prominence in 2009 with an early win in Atlanta and by staying in the top 12 in points.
Busch married Eva Bryan in 2006 and the couple now resides in North Carolina and travels to the racetrack together each week.
Web site: www.kurtbusch.com