NASCAR News

Kurt Busch angers media at press conference
by Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor
August 22, 2003

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Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie Ford, started his press conference Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway apologizing from the events of last weekend at Michigan Int’l Speedway involving himself and fellow driver Jimmy Spencer. He finished the conference in a smug manner after blaming the media for a year of negative publicity culminating in the Michigan affair.

“I hate it that Jimmy (Spencer) is not here this weekend,” said Busch. “He’s a tough competitor just like I am. I hate it for the Spencer fans and for my fans, for both our sponsors and teams that Jimmy and I finished the day like we did last Sunday."

“Those kinds of situations are not good for our sport and send the wrong kind of message about what kind of people we are.”

Then Busch proceeded to show what kind of person he is, at least within the racing arena.

“I’d like to say something about racing now because it’s clear that not everyone knows what happens on the race track every week. There isn’t a race that goes by where someone doesn’t employ a racing tactic like Jimmy and I did to one another last week at Michigan. At a super speedway, you might try to take a guy’s air off his spoiler or loosen him up, or you might try to knock his fender in and make his car push."

“Just like a bump and run, its part of racing,” says Busch.

Busch says his contact with Spencer was all about maiming the competition. Damaging Spencer’s Dodge just enough to upset the handling, but not enough to send the car into the wall.

However, did Busch employ that tactic on any other driver during the race last week? Alternatively, was Spencer his only victim?

“No, I didn’t,” said Busch, when asked the question. “There are things that drivers do to gain a competitive advantage on the racetrack and that’s a classic way to try and gain a competitive advantage.”

One can only wonder how the rest of the Winston Cup garage will take the news that Busch believes it is okay to damage another car in the normal course of business.

In a subsequent press conference, Robby Gordon, known for his own issues, remarked it was good to know how Busch thinks.

“I know Jeff Gordon doesn’t race that way. Kevin Harvick doesn’t race that way and Tony Stewart doesn’t race that way. Cars are going to bump, but it should never be intentional,” said Gordon.

Only time will tell if Spencer plans to exact some measure of revenge against Busch on the racetrack. It won’t happen this weekend given the one-week suspension handed down by NASCAR.

And, even if Spencer forgets, which he never does the media is not about to forget the finger pointing Busch employed during his press conference.

“Let me ask you, the media, a question,” stated Busch. “I don’t understand what the difference is with your guys when Spencer and I are racing or when you have a situation like I did in the spring at Darlington with Ricky Craven?”

Maybe someone should point out to Busch the difference between two drivers battling for the win in the final laps of a race versus the deliberate unsuccessful attempt to bend the fenders of another driver before the race has even reached the halfway mark.

The author can be contacted nascar@autoracing1.com

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