Jeff Meyer · Wednesday November 16, 2005
Isn’t it funny how life works out?
Take for instance, the latest saga involving Kurt Busch. Personally, I find this entire ‘non-story’ absolutely hilarious. I call it a ‘non-story’ because that’s exactly what it is. A classic case of media sharks, circling in celebrity waters, waiting for the first sign of blood. That being said, I still think there is enough here to get me through one more deadline, and that, I can’t pass up!
There are so many ironic twists to come out of last weekend’s events that it’s hard to know where to start, so I’ll start with the alcohol.
The alcohol is the ‘blood’ that got the sharks circling in the first place. Unfortunately for the sharks, it turned out to be nothing. The plain and simple fact of the matter is, the smell of alcohol and a breath test of .017 is NOT against the law. Even had Kurt hit the other car he was trying to avoid, he would not be charged with a DUI. Had he blown, say, in the .07 range, you can bet your driver’s license that he would have been taken to another machine that worked! That’s the way cops work. Trust me, I know.
What is ironic about the whole alcohol deal is that, as far as drinking and driving goes, Kurt WAS doing just what his current (and future) sponsor advocate; not operating a car while over the legal limit. While you can get a ticket for reckless driving, just being a plain idiot is still, unfortunately, legal in most states. Alcohol, in this case, is not an issue.
As far as Roush Racing is concerned, it is no secret that Jack Roush always did feel a bit miffed by the way Kurt did the whole contract deal with Penske. Jack put this kid in top notch equipment and made him a champion even though Kurt proved he could be a top notch jackass too. The fact that Kurt’s decision to leave Roush had to do nothing with equipment, but with souvenir sales (money) and a perceived chance to increase his popularity, was never lost to Jack. Just over a week ago, Jack said, “I haven’t had a conversation with Kurt of any consequence since he told me he wanted to be released from his contract for 2006. I’m immune to frustration when it comes to Kurt Busch.”
Ironically, while Kurt may get more money from Penske, he still looks like Alfred E. Newman, but without Alfred’s likable personality. As my best friend and racing buddy reminded me, Kurt Busch gets so many boos when introduced that even Jeff Gordon reportedly feels bad for him! At least with Gordon, HALF of the fans are cheering too. Have you ever heard 160,000 fans boo at one time? Go to Bristol and tell me I ain’t lying. Some things will never change no matter what number car you drive or which alcoholic beverage sponsors it.
To most folks in the racing community, Kurt’s lack of judgment and asinine behavior last Friday night doesn’t seem to be much of a surprise. What surprises me the most is how much Kurt seems oblivious to the bridges he set fire to upon his parting from Roush Racing. His crocodile tears and shaky voice when he said it was ‘unfortunate’ how he let down his teammates left me gasping for air with beverage coming out my nose!
Save it for the theater Kurtsy boy! You let them down back in August when you signed with Penske.
Last Saturday, Kurt Busch saw the embers of the bridges burning behind him flare up and burn his butt as he was immediately relieved of all further racing duties in 2005. “I’m not looking down the road with Kurt, based on the fact that he has his release and he will be doing something else. He’ll be under new management, and new oversight next year, and I’ll just stand aside and watch and see how that works out for him,” said Jack. No doubt said with a slight grin I’d reckon.
Roush’s subtle revenge does not stop there however. Roush Racing so wants to distance themselves from Kurt Busch, they are getting rid of the number 97 altogether! The new number of Jamie McMurray’s ride will be 26. Same sponsors, same team, new driver, new number, clean slate! Probably not a bad marketing strategy when you think about it. Kurt Busch and the #97 will be a footnote in the history of the Roush organization.
Speaking of footnotes and marketing strategy, does anyone remember a promotion by Crown Royal called “Safe Rides Home”? It was an initiative to promote responsible drinking and getting home safely, in which Crown Royal painted up ten replicas of the #97 and offered bar patrons a ride home on the Thursday before the Allstate 400 in Indianapolis this past August. Kurt Busch actually did some of the driving! If that isn’t ironic, I’ll kiss your shot glass! They must have caught him on a good day.
Stay off the wall, (but look back over it and try to spot Kurt in the stands at Homestead)
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