Many hope suspension will be lesson learned for Busch
By RICK MINTER / Universal Uclick
The big question surrounding Kurt Busch – on NASCAR probation until the end of the year, and just coming off a one-week suspension for cursing a reporter – is whether the suspension got his attention.
In the past, suspensions have proven to be an effective way of letting a driver know that NASCAR officials are in charge of the sport and expect their standards for behavior on and off the track to be followed.
It worked for Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Spencer and even Kyle Busch in the fairly recent past, and according to some, it could work again in Kurt Busch’s case.
“Kurt Busch’s suspension is long overdue, and that is coming from someone who learned his lesson after sitting out a race for punching him a few years ago,” Spencer said. “Kurt has been given plenty of chances to right his wrongs and put himself back on the right path, but he has failed to take advantage of any of those opportunities.
“NASCAR had to do something to restore a sense of respect toward the sport on Kurt’s behalf, because he seems to consistently flaunt his disrespect for everything and everyone in this sport. Maybe sitting out and watching the race from the pit box or his couch will wake him up to how great he really has it.”
Spencer said his own suspension back in 2003 for slapping Busch in the garage at Michigan had a positive effect on him.
“I can say that my suspension was extremely upsetting to me, but it made me a better person off the track,” he said. “That’s what Kurt needs now, and I hope this helps him.
It seems to have straightened his little brother, Kyle, out, and I hope the same is true for Kurt.”
Jeff Gordon told reporters at Pocono that he hopes Busch can bounce back.
“I think he could have such a bright future in this sport,” Gordon said. “I think that you continue to hope that a guy learns his lesson, and a guy can pull it together. I’m sure in his mind this is a minor incident and didn’t justify what happened, but eventually you have to start straightening up your act, and utilizing your talent on the race track to earn the respect.
“This, unfortunately, is a step backwards for him.”
Tony Stewart, who is both a car owner and driver, said how sponsors react will play a major role in determining Busch’s future.
“Half of the battle is getting a good partner and sponsor, and if the sponsors are leery, then it puts you in a bad spot as an owner, unless you have unlimited funding and can just put in there whoever you want,” he said. “It’s definitely a huge concern.”