Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch Fan Q&A: Putting NASCAR Villains In Perspective

“What is your take on how fans react to injuries in NFL compared to how fans react to unliked drivers? Example: Matt Cassell vs. Kurt Busch.. Do fans go overboard cheering for injuries and booing or least favorite?”


Honestly, I don’t know enough about football to know if Matt Cassel is hated or how fans reacted to his injury. However, as much as fans hate Kurt Busch, I don’t think any of them genuinely want to see him physically injured. In fact, I can almost guarantee that if such a thing did happen (God forbid), he would receive an outpouring of support from NASCAR fans everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some crazy, creepy people out there who do wish harm on the drivers and they should be ashamed of themselves. But most diehard NASCAR fans care about the drivers and their safety, even if they don’t like the guy’s personality.

As far as “booing”, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. Personally, I think silence would send a better message but that will fall on deaf ears. People love to hate other drivers and sometimes hate their least favorite driver more than they love their favorite driver. I don’t really see the point in exerting all that energy onto someone but you can’t stand, but none of them are really hurting anything. Let them have their fun!

“How do you think Kurt Busch will do in the #78 car? Do you think A.J. Allmendinger will be in the #51 car or will it be someone else?”


Honestly, I think he’ll do about as well as he did in the No. 51. Regardless of Busch’s praise of Furniture Row Racing for having superior equipment, I have a hard time believing it’s the rainbows and lollipops he makes it sound like. He’s not going to make the Chase in that equipment, if he wins a race it won’t be on speed or dominance, and he’s going to be the same controversy-laden, headline-grabbing, “competitor” that he was this year. In fact, I guarantee Furniture Row Racing is going to have to apologize for him on more than one occasion.

Regan Smith will be in the No. 51 this weekend in Charlotte, though James Finch hasn’t committed to a driver for next year yet. Basically, it’s pending on sponsorship and the cohesiveness with the team and driver.

I don’t know what it would mean for sponsorship, but I personally think that Finch would get more attention on that car by putting Allmendinger just because of the storyline alone. Smith? I think he’d be better served in the Nationwide Series. But we’ll have to continue to watch this play out before we know what happens for certain.

How long will it be before Kyle Busch’s mouth ruins his career like his brothers?


Let’s not forget he got a little bit of a wake-up call last season when he wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr. in a truck race at Texas. Kyle Busch has, for the most part, behaved himself, though the TRD comment was admittedly a colossal screw-up.

However, I wouldn’t say Kurt’s career is “ruined”. Regardless of the negative publicity he creates, he still keeps getting rides offered to him and opportunities coming his way. Sure they aren’t top tier rides like Roush or Penske, but do you see him starting-and-parking or going door to door begging for rides or opportunities? I don’t’ think so. Though we often complain of talent have little to no importance anymore, clearly that’s not entirely true. Busch has a proven track record, which means team owners are willing to give him a try.

Joe Gibbs Racing has been very forgiving of Busch’s antics for this very reason, and I think the sponsors have too. A lackluster 2012 aside, Busch can win races and contend with the best of them and that means more sponsor exposure.

They’re pretty blessed to be in an industry like that too. If any other average Joe went to work and had a meltdown, cussed out all of his coworkers and even his superiors, and threw a major fit because something didn’t go the way he wanted it to, do you think his boss wouldn’t can him if he said it was the “competitor in him” or because he was “passionate” about what he does? It could very well be true! But do you honestly think his boss would say, “Oh, ok then, we forgive you?” Absolutely not! He’d be sent to the end of the longest (unemployment) line!

Fortunately for these two, though, they’re both very valuable names in this industry and are two of the most talented in the garage area. So, to answer your question, I don’t think anything other than a NASCAR suspension because of a failed drug test or something to that nature is going to effectively “ruin” their careers. So get used to both of them!

*Connect with Summer!* (And ask her a question)

About the author

Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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