Race Weekend Central

Kurt Busch Back in the Driver’s Seat: It’s What NASCAR Had to Do

Kurt Busch is reinstated to NASCAR and the No. 41 effective immediately. The District Attorney in Delaware hasn’t found sufficient evidence to file any charges against him regarding the incident that occurred last November at Dover. NASCAR’s experts in the field of behavioral healthcare have deemed Busch healthy enough to return to competition. The sport’s officials have declared he will be eligible for the Chase. His car owner is eager to put him back behind the wheel as soon as possible and even Chevrolet stated that they will support his return to driving – though it will keep a sharp eye on “the situation.”

The only caveat that lingers as a black mark since the beginning of this particular domestic drama is that Busch will have to follow all the requirements of the family court in Dover.

Thus endeth the punishment for Busch as regards to his salary.

But what of popular opinion?

As much as NASCAR is a multi-billion dollar sporting industry, it is still an entertainment media mogul. The media wholly relies upon the interest and goodwill of the public to maintain its ability to generate cash. NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing must be a little wary of what the Twittersphere might have to say on the mater. After all, the elder Busch brother is hardly the prom king when it comes to finding the support of race fans. Time and again he’s earned the reputation of a surly competitor, capable of taking down his peers, members of the media and even public servants with rude comments and an aggressive manner. Why would NASCAR so quickly capitulate and reinstate Busch once the DA gave up any interest in him?

Because for once, NASCAR is following a fairly transparent process and doing what it said it would do if Busch complied with all its requests and was cleared in the courts. According to NASCAR, the driver of the No. 41 has done all that. He has agreed to follow a treatment program and remains on probation. In short, Busch is doing what his employer is requiring of him.

Once you take away the cameras, glitz and multi-million dollar salaries, we are still talking about a man’s job and a corporation’s willingness to work its employee. Maybe NASCAR fans will have lots to say about Kurt Busch, what they think really happened and whether or not they might employ a person with such a short temper, but ultimately public opinion has nothing to do with the immediate reactions of NASCAR, Stewart-Haas Racing and Chevrolet. They are all adhering to expected good business practices – at least for the moment.

However, that doesn’t mean Busch is in the clear. His contract with SHR will expire. Chevrolet and other sponsors will have their say as to whether they wish to extend any relationship with the prickly guy. And those decisions will be based upon not only Busch’s on-track performance but also the prevailing sentiment in the grandstands.

NASCAR is only buying Busch a stay of execution. It’s what it had to do. But in the end, it will be his future actions that determine if he has any further place in the history books of this sport.

The story isn’t over, folks. Not by a long shot. This was simply the latest chapter in this extended soap opera.

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jim

Man, if I had a nickel for every talking head and so-called expert that said they saw no path back for Kurt Busch to a Cup ride, I’d have a lot of nickels.

Glad he is back. NASCAR needs more “prickly guys”, not fewer.

Richard

I agree,NASCAR has become so vanilla with drivers thanking their sponsors and comments like my guys are working hard,well how about the people who work hard and spend their hard earned money not to see sum seem to be scripted answers because they’re scared to get fined by NASCAR. NASCAR is double standard. Hamlin downs racing product gets fined, Smoke downs racing product no fine. Kvapil guilty probation, Kurt innocent suspended. NASCAR powers that be are detrimental to the sport.

russ

GM/Chevrolet was the key, as it always was. Once they changed their position he was back in. But if they hadn’t he would still be out.

rascalmanny

I hope he wins his first race back. Would be better if he wins the championship and dedicates it to his brother who is out because of Nascar’s stubbornness.

BIff Stenhouse

Agreeing entirely with his reinstatement & Nascars handling of this, as a whole. But disagreeing with one statement above. Imo, untrue that …”ultimately public opinion has nothing to do with the immediate reactions of NASCAR…” Imo the contrived timing of the family commission’s decision & the ABC GMA interview with the accuser hitting the fan on the eve of Nascar’s Super Bowl intentionally caused a potentially huge **it storm. So Nascar’s hands were forced, as would be those of any resourceful company, to control potentially damaging public opinion & perception. Corporations most definitely fall in the jurisdiction of the court of public opinion. Make no mistake about it! Only now, that the apparent potency of the potential storm has waned & turned out to be diarrhea (considering the seriousness of many “real” DV, this is not …that), it, rightfully so imo, is time to reset the playing field & move forward!

Tom B

So what is the NASCAR’s policy now for when an ex-girlfriend comes to the drivers motor coach lot looking for her ex-boyfriend to verbally abuse and to accuse him of domestic violence? Will security stop her?

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