CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Anyone involved in automobile racing needs to be able to handle defeat.
Kurt and Kyle Busch, two of the most talented racers in NASCAR, still have a long way to go.
This year the two brothers were in hot water almost every week. If it wasn’t a demonstration against another driver, it was some type of shenanigan in the garage area, or in Kyle’s case speeding along a public highway at 128 miles per hour in a 45-mile speed zone.
During 2011, the pair put on a display reminiscent of two 6-year-olds fighting over an ice cream cone.
The worst thing about their behavior is that they never seem to learn from their actions.
After each incident, there is usually a public apology and a fine, followed by statements from their race teams and sponsors, stating that the drivers’ actions hadn’t represented corporate policy.
The latest deal involved Kurt, and it may cost him his job at Penske Racing.
He verbally lashed out and pointed his middle finger at Dr. Jerry Punch, who was standing by for an interview in the garage area in the season finale at Homestead.
It’s understandable Kurt was upset after having blown a transmission in his car, but don’t spew anger and bitterness on someone not involved.
After being fined $50,000 by NASCAR for his actions toward Punch, Busch said he is seeing a sports psychologist to address “personal issues.”
Kurt’s 2011 crew chief, Steve Addington, resigned last week to join Tony Stewart. Busch said he doesn’t believe Addington’s decision to leave the team had as much to do with his behavior as it did Addington being offered a job as Stewart’s crew chief.
Tell us another one Kurt.
Both car owners were willing to sign the two brothers when Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick, their previous other team owners let them go.
During races, both brothers use profuse profanity in radio communications with their teams. Much of it is belittling to the crew chief and those who help prepare the car.
In addition, several extra people are required to watch over them, from the crews to the business managers, team executives and public relations reps. Every time they do something regrettable, those are the people who end up working overtime in an attempt to smooth things over.
They are the ones who go around whispering apologies, swallowing their pride to say over and over, “I am so sorry, but, well, you know how he is.”
And lastly there are the fans, the people who have dedicated loyalties to Kurt and Kyle. Their reward for that allegiance is to constantly be put in the position of defending the indefensible. “Thanks for your support,” the brothers essentially say to their fans. Then they turn right around and do something else negative within a couple weeks.
Is there a place for anger and passion in auto racing? Yes.
But I think sooner or later, even their most dedicated fans are going to say, “Enough.”