Tuesday, 09 August 2022

NASCAR VIEW: When Kurt Busch wins a race, how supportive will NASCAR fans be?

Posted On Saturday, 11 April 2015 00:00 Written by
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We all know it's coming.

Kurt Busch, since being reinstated by NASCAR and allowed to be Chase-eligible, has been stupid fast.

He's not quite on the same pace as his teammate and defending NASCAR champ Kevin Harvick, but he's not far behind in terms of overall speed.

He has not yet won a race since returning, but he most definitely will win one soon -- and should win several before the season ends and be a legitimate contender in the Chase this fall. He's on pole for Texas, so it could happen as soon as this weekend.

The big question, though, considering the circumstances surrounding Kurt's suspension, is this: How will the NASCAR world, and the world beyond NASCAR, react to a Kurt Busch victory when it inevitably happens?

 

Some fans will embrace Kurt Busch's return to Victory Lane

Many fans are supportive of Kurt Busch, and have been throughout his dramatic offseason. They do not believe the story of Patricia Driscoll, Kurt's ex, that led to the extended courtroom drama that caught the world's attention (Claims of Driscoll being a trained assassin and other assorted WTF moments).

They believe Kurt when he says that he didn't do anything wrong in that motor home, and are mad NASCAR ever suspended him in the first place.


This group of fans will be thrilled at a Busch win, and hopeful that winning will silence talk about an incident they believe never happened. The fact he was never criminally charged (though a protection order was issued) is cited by Kurt's backers, and I'd say a solid majority of the diehard NASCAR fans fall into this category.


But ...


Some fans will continue to associate Kurt Busch with domestic violence


NASCAR has lots of fans, both men and women, who have forever been soured to Kurt Busch based on this whole situation. Many of them probably didn't like him before this all happened -- due to his previous outbursts (police incident while at Roush that led to his dismissal, verbal attack on Dr. Jerry Punch while at Penske that led to his dismissal, ripping up a reporter's notes during a press conference, etc.), but to hear he was accused of domestic violence was the final straw for many fans. They can never root for him, not now not ever.

Once that protection order was issued and the judge said there was reason to believe Busch had been violent in that motor home, Kurt was persona non grata to a lot of people. For this reason, I don't anticipate a huge chorus of cheers if Kurt does take the checkered flag. Sure, he'll get some from his backers, but the number of times he has self-inflicted damage to his career throughout the years is unparallelled among today's NASCAR drivers.

As far as the world outside of NASCAR -- I'm pretty sure they'll notice if Kurt wins and mention it on their broadcasts and they'll question whether he should be competing in the wake of the abuse allegations. But the opinion of the overall world media doesn't really matter much in this case -- it's more about how NASCAR and its fans react that should matter to Kurt.


Which response is the right one?

So what is the correct response, and are those who dislike Kurt being too hard on him, especially since criminal charges were never filed?

The reality is that there is no correct response, as everyone sees things differently. Only Kurt and Patricia know what happened that night, and the rest of us have to draw our own conclusions and decide what we think about Kurt as a result.

I don't think anyone is being too hard on Busch -- this situation is just a very harsh reminder that everything we do in life has consequences, legal or otherwise, and we have to be careful about what situations we involve ourselves in or face the repurcussions.
Kurt Busch will go on with his racing career, will continue to win races and possibly contend for championships -- as he is very talented and still has a lot left in the tank. Whether most fans are cheering him on or booing him matters little in the long run, other than perhaps to Kurt's ego.

It's possible that as the years go on, Kurt will put all the drama of his career behind him, stay on the straight and narrow and regain back a bunch of fans due to how he drives on track.

But no matter how the rest of his career goes, the events of the past year will forever be associated wtih Kurt, which means he will always be a divisive figure for NASCAR fans -- right or wrong, that's the reality of the situation.


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AutoTechReviews can be reached on Twitter @AutoTechReview. Follow the AutoTechReviews Facebook page at www.facebook.com/autotechreviews; Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @AutoTechReview.

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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