Kurt Busch, returning to the seat of the No. 41 Chevrolet Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway for the first time since his indefinite suspension by NASCAR, sat down with FOX NASCAR SUNDAY host Chris Myers Sunday to share his thoughts on his suspension, whether he has anger-management issues and other topics. Below is a transcript of the interview that aired on FOX:
Myers: There are still people out there who might say, 'Well, he must have done something.'
Busch: "Well, my reply to that would be yes, domestic violence is a serious issue. The next step is the worst problem with that is when you're falsely accused of it. It hurts the real victims. That's what I have to say to that."
Myers: There's a real difference between a personal disagreement versus domestic violence, in your eyes?
Busch: "In somebody who has had moments of anger issues, that is one thing when you're frustrated about a bad finish. But going to a step to actually hurt a woman or to hurt somebody, that's not in my realm. That's way beyond my reach."
Myers: Do you feel you have anger-management issues?
Busch: "I feel like I haven't handled a lot of the situations in my past to the best of my ability. As I move forward and as I put things in place, yes, I want to do a better job of coming through this with class and dignity."
Myers: (after reading a statement released by Busch's ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, following NASCAR's reinstatement of Busch). Your reaction?
Busch: "There's a road to recovery. I'm following those steps. I've worked with NASCAR through this whole process. I was led to believe the criminal side would have been where there was a decision made, which is the most important side. Beyond what the commissioner had to say, the next step is, yes, all these allegations are false."
Myers: Were there some mistakes, if any, you made along the way in this?
Busch: One of them is not changing the code to my motorhome door, I mean. And frankly, choosing the wrong woman to date. This is a situation that everybody around me and my family has learned from, has been a part of and it's been not just a tough five months but a tough three-and-a-half years."
Myers: Were you worried about your image, your reputation?
Busch: "It's already taken so many hits and done so many things over the years, that the biggest thing I want moving forward is I want this to be me in that car and not anything else. Look at the present. Look at the future. My signature is above the door. That's who I am as a racer."
Myers: You have a fast car here at Phoenix. It's a place you have had success before. Will you be able to focus as much as you always have once you get behind the wheel and race for the win?
Busch: "I'll tell you, I was a little nervous getting in the car Friday and after my first few laps, we were on top of the board and I was like, ‘What do you mean we're on top of the board? I had no idea I'd be able to get back in the car and go that fast. I have to do my job now to focus and to be that professional athlete."