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Thomas Bowles · Tuesday November 22, 2011
The championship Chase may be over, one final chapter for the 2011 season complete in the form of a Tony Stewart – Carl Edwards battle for the ages. But, surprising as it may be to hear considering the last 48 hours there’s also something else we should remind you of: 40-something other Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs, and cars still exist. Hidden under the smokescreen of a historic title race, the rest of the garage left us with plenty of loose ends to tie up before heading off to hibernation for the winter.
Lucky for you, this season-ending edition of Fact or Fiction is on the case. Read on to see what changes and controversies you might have missed in the midst of… dare I say it … Chase mania over Homestead’s 400-mile finale.
FACT: Jerry Punch Is Owed An Apology From Kurt Busch
A Busch brother is at it again. On Sunday, following his broken transmission a fan captured disturbing video of Kurt Busch raging against one of the most respected reporters in the NASCAR biz: ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch. After shouting expletives towards Punch, who was simply trying to gather information for an on-air interview the driver quickly loses patience with his question. Then, later on in the video he loses patience with NASCAR’s television network; frustrated it’s taking too long for the cameras to come to him, he berates Punch once more before storming off to his hauler in frustration.
One would think, considering Busch’s recent conflicts with two reporters at Richmond in September he would know better by now than to lose all semblance of self-control. Instead, this incident with Punch is right in step with his “norm,” a third strike in what’s been a souring relationship with the media for some time.
Now, I’m not saying Busch needs to be courteous 24/7. There are certainly times where the media deserves to be called out for their transgressions… but not in this case. Busch’s actions towards Punch were uncalled for, borderline physical in nature and deserve an apology. In fact, you wonder how many more of these incidents need to happen before NASCAR steps in; at some point, doesn’t the sanctioning body have an obligation to physically protect their working media? Once is a mistake, twice is a pattern… three times, and a simple slap on the wrist won’t get it done.
FICTION: Drew Blickensderfer Is The Answer For Jeff Burton
I’ve been arguing for weeks that Jeff Burton and Luke Lambert, the interim crew chief that worked magic with the No. 31 Chevy down the stretch should stay together for 2012. Sadly, owner Richard Childress doesn’t agree; reports from FOX Sports have David Ragan’s former crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer hired to fill that head wrench role every Sunday.
Huh? I’ve spoken at length about the chemistry injection Lambert’s added; Burton ended this year with four top-10 results in five races to surge inside the top 20 in points. As for Blickensderfer? He and Ragan were nowhere to be found on that list; the duo landed 23rd in points, saddled with more DNFs (five) then top-5 finishes (four) while floundering at the back of the Roush-Fenway fleet. Ragan did score two poles, along with a win in July’s Daytona Speed Dating 400 but overall never flashed the consistency to be a top-10 runner every week.
Sure, two years ago “Drew Blick” was the talk of NASCAR Nation; his partnership with Matt Kenseth began with two wins in the first two races of 2009. But that team went on to miss the Chase that year, a first for Kenseth in the six years of the format and Blick gradually wore out his welcome.
With those types of inconsistent statistics, one wonders why Childress should shell out the big bucks for a “big name” crew chief. Sometimes, it’s far easier to take chances with what you already have.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Kurt Busch? biggest asshole in Nascar?hmmmmm.Lets take a poll ! Biggest A-Hole in Nascar? The list could be endless. FACT or FICTION? LOL!
Kurt is due for a whooping soon. What a low class db.
After watching the video posted, and seeing the finger Kurt gave live on TV, I’m going to take the time to let Penske and all of the 22 team’s sponsors that I will no longer purchase their products as long as Kurt Busch drives the car with their stickers on it.
Kyle gets the bad rap (at least partially deserved), but Kurt just seems to be toxic to anyone working with him. Can’t blame Addington for wanting out. Kurt’s surliness doesn’t have an upside. At least Kyle’s team knows he’ll get everything he can out of the 18 car.
Kurt and Kyle were apparently both raised by wolves.
NASCAR should step in – they don’t have to make a public deal out of it, but they should talk to both owners and restate the expectations of how a human being is supposed to act toward others.
Emotion is one thing, rude and boorish is out of line.
Come on Roger, Sam Hornish already owns a Pennzoil racing suit from his days driving the #4 indy car. Time to cut loose the biggest A-hole in NASCAR before he rots your entire team from the inside out. I can only hope that transmission was a special going away present from Steve Addington.
As a dyed in the wool Mopar fan, it pains me to say that I am DONE WITH KURT BUSH. I can’t support his disrespect and surliness. Dr. Jerry Punch is one of the most respected people in the garage area. Who do Kurt and his goofy little brother think they are? I can only wonder how the parents and family of those two numbskulls feel to have raised such morons. Both of their behavior on and off the track is beyond shameful. NASCAR, Dodge and Penske, Gibbs and Mars need to step in NOW and bench the derilict duo for ALL OF NEXT SEASON.
How can the “super-class” Mr. Penske put up with the “Biggest Jerk” in all of racing? The sponsors must be having fits and not surprising that Steve Addington quit. Kurt absolutely “has to go!” Fortunately for the Penske organization… Brad K is in their legacy “Blue Deuce” so the damage KB has done can be contained… IF they get rid of him. Sam Hornish definitely has a bright future ahead of him… another “Gentleman with Class!”… A Perfect Fit!I guess that the pressure is just too much for Kurt, being upstaged by his little brother Kyle and his team-mate Brad. Losers always show-off their colors… as in Off-colored trash-talk!
biggest asshole in Nascar? That would go to Brian France, no contest, hands down.
I see Kurt having a hard time being competitive in the near future. What experienced, in demand, crew chief would want to be on the pit box for this guy? Assuming he is not canned by Penske, he will either end up with a Cup rookie for a crew chief or someone who hasn’t been too successful.
I don’t think anyone is surprised that Addington is leaving. Can you really blame him? It would not shock me at all if Kurts misfortune on Sunday was not an accident.
Recent articles from Tom Bowles:
Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief
If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.
Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.