By admin | August 9, 2010
By Richard Allen
As is typically the case, driver Kurt Busch has not minced words when talking about his ever deepening rivalry with Jimmie Johnson. And more, he did not stop with one Hendrick Motorsports driver. He broadened the scope to include every HMS chauffer.
“The guys at Hendrick are pretty boys and they get on People Magazine covers and that’s their job,” Busch said at a press conference at Watkins Glen. “My job is to go out and race cars and that’s what I focus on. I like to race the cars and race them hard, race them smart and I feel like that if what happened last week, which we’ll talk about racing because that’s what we should be talking about, if the roles we’re reversed and the 2 car wrecked the 48, I would have been hung.
“I would have been lynched at the gates for wrecking a four-time champion. But if the roles really were reversed, I wouldn’t have bumped the 48 in that fashion and both of us would have continued on and ended up with good results.”
From a competition standpoint, picking on Hendrick Motorsports might not be the best of moves to make. After all, they have won the past four Sprint Cup championships and house two drivers who hold a total of eight title trophies.
However, from a marketing standpoint, picking on HMS could prove to be a financial boon. Now make no mistake, Kurt Busch will never match any of the Hendrick drivers in popularity. Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are usually at or near the top of the souvenir sales lists and popularity polls every season.
For Busch to bring all of those drivers into the fray may not have been a bad move at all.
Consider this, although the HMS drivers are among the most popular in the sport, they do not have every fan. There are always some out there who are looking to go against the grain, looking for the anti-hero. Those folks buy hats and t-shirts just like everyone else.
There were no doubt some, if not quite a few, out there who had a smile to come across their faces when they read or heard the Busch statement. Based on comments received on this site and seen on message boards, the Penske driver was not the first to make the remark about magazine covers.
While Kurt Busch can’t match Jimmie Johnson’s championships or race wins, he may still have emerged as the leader among those who oppose all that is Hendrick.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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