By admin | May 26, 2011
By Richard Allen
With the speeding citation(or rather the reckless and careless driving citation) he received on Tuesday, Kyle Busch has managed to do quite a lot. Aside from proving that he could drive a car at a high rate of speed, which we already knew, he has managed to draw criticism, jokes and all sorts of other publicity, and to place NASCAR ever closer to the rest of the sporting world.
Earlier this year, Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett was taken in for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. And not only did police claim he was intoxicated, it was stated in the police report that his blood alcohol content was four times that of the legal limit.
For years NASCAR has marketed itself as a sport with athletes unlike all the others. According to the messages that has been disseminated, the drivers who compete at the highest level in American motorsports are family oriented, law abiding, personable and approachable.
The ‘law abiding’ part of that claim is fading fast. The excessive actions of Busch and Annett give off the impression that, like many other highly placed people in our society, that the same rules do not apply to them as everyone else.
Other sporting leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB are on an almost weekly basis having to deal with one of their performers getting into some sort of legal entanglement. NASCAR has long wanted to fit in with the other sports and now they finally seem to be, although not in the way they might have wanted.
Young people being handed vast amounts of wealth and never being told no to anything will invariably lead to these types of incidents.
Another thing Busch’s speeding citation did was draw attention away from one of NASCAR’s biggest events. The Coca-Cola 600 coming up this weekend is one of the sport’s crown jewels. Now, the lead in on pre-race shows for that event will be about a ‘careless and reckless’ competitor who was driving 83mph over the speed limit in a sports car that none of the viewers could ever dream of owning.
However, there is an old saying that declares, “Any publicity is good publicity” so in some twisted way, the leaders of NASCAR may give Busch one of those wink and nudge reprimands since he has put the sport on a number of media outlets it might have never been exposed to otherwise.
Also, Busch has made himself the butt of a number of jokes over the last couple of days. The morning radio program ‘Johnboy and Billy Big Show’ offered up a humorous top-10 Kyle Busch excuses list just this morning. Of course, Busch is probably used to being the butt of jokes so this may not be such a bad thing either.
But lastly, and most seriously, Busch driving so fast allows others to somehow think it’s something that is OK to do. I have heard more people than not reason that because he is a NASCAR driver he can handle a car at that speed, or that as long as the driver is in control the speed does not matter, and other mindless statements from those who seem to forget that others are on the road at the same time who might become the innocent victim of such stupid behavior.
I teach in a high school full of teenage boys who are looking for any justification they can find for driving in a foolish manner. Now, thanks to Kyle Busch, they have now found another way to justify their bad driving by saying, “Kyle Busch does it.” And more, the foolish behavior of Busch and Annett have now placed NASCAR drivers in the same “rules don’t apply to me like the rest of society” category as other athletes.
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