By admin | April 4, 2009
By Richard Allen
One of the things I like most about NASCAR is the openness between the teams and the fans. There is no way anyone would be allowed to listen in as NFL coaches talked over strategy with their quarterbacks. But in NASCAR, fans, media and even other teams can tune in at any time and listen to the chatter between driver and crew.
Either at the race itself or watching at home and using Trackpass, I enjoy listening to certain teams. I listen to the Matt Kenseth’s team for their cerebral approach. I listen to Tony Stewart’s team for the raw emotion. And for pure entertainment value, the talk between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and crew is hard to beat. However, Kurt Busch has become a favorite when selecting my scanner frequencies of late.
To say the least, Busch is not afraid to speak his mind. That could be in regard to other drivers, himself and his crew. His criticism of his crew is often quite harsh. But that is not to say other drivers are not testy with their own teams as well. It’s just that Busch’s rants have garnered a certain amount of publicity.
Last year, there was one race in which his car was handling so badly that he asked if he could just go ahead and quit about midway through the event. When told he could not he declared any injury he might receive would be squarely on the crew’s shoulders.
Last year in California, Busch was upset with adjustments made by his crew and by a miscommunication with his spotter. After contact with Martin Truex he radioed, “Tell the #1 car we’re sorry but we have no idea what we’re doing at Penske Racing,” he said to his spotter, leaving little doubt who he blamed for the incident.
Later in that race, when reminded he would be pitting the second time around under caution with the lapped cars Busch responded, “I’m used to that.”
This past weekend in Martinsville, Busch’s now infamous scanner chatter again drew attention. This time the dust up was with none other than team owner Roger Penske.
After an adjustment that turned out to be not of the driver’s liking, Busch and Penske had a bit of a heated exchange. It was even reported that Busch referred to the legendary car owner as “dude” during the spat.
Busch has since said all has been worked out and that he and Penske are on the same page.
Kurt Busch is an intense competitor. As a fan I like that there are drivers who want to win and are not willing to settle for “a good points day”. NASCAR is unique in that fans and media have an inside perspective into the internal workings of the teams.
With all of that said, Busch has in recent races moved higher on my list of scanner frequencies. He has actually come to rival Earnhardt in shear entertainment value. Although his crew might not always find him so entertaining.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
* For what I hope you will find to be another sort of entertainment value, please click the link below to check out my animated short film, “Racing Re-Cap: Martinsville”.
None of the characters represent real people.
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