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Friday, December 9, 2011

NASCAR--time for a reality check

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I’m so sick of political-correctness, fantasy, and lack of reality!

This whole Kurt Busch thing—let’s call it what it was—Busch was canned by Roger Penske. I admit I was shocked that Penske burned that bridge completely. No doubt Kurt Busch was angling for some kind of disciplinary action, but I admit that firing a capable race car driver who can drive for a bad attitude is rather like missing a shift. This isn’t a beauty pageant where points are awarded for poise and grace. It is about racing. Kurt Busch turned some dismal days into good race results. Attitude shouldn’t be a number one concern. Penske knew Busch was temperamental when he hired him. Busch’s tirades should not have been a surprise.

Still, it is not how Penske runs his company that bothers me. It is the total dishonesty surrounding it. How stupid do they think we are?

NASCAR and apparently everyone associated with it systemically has a way of manipulating reality, or at least trying to, so that everything looks rosy all the time. That isn’t how life works! While they boast about how NASCAR is all about the fans and people have more access to drivers and teams than in any other sport. Yet the attempt to obscure any perceived unpleasantries has a heavier smoke screen than a victory burnout. Don’t they think we can handle it? Are they afraid their actions will cause us to rip up race tickets and turn off the television?

I hate to tell them, but nothing turns fans off faster than dishonesty.

Tell it like it really is

Penske didn’t just part ways with Busch; the two didn’t just split up as headlines stated. Penske fired him. The ramifications of that are so much more serious than a parting of the ways.

Roger Penske has said little if anything about firing Kurt Busch. I think we would all understand if The Captain looked right at the camera or into the eyes of a print reporter and said Kurt Busch was impossible to deal with, so I fired him. We would all have understood.

Or perhaps Penske could have said, Shell Oil issued an ultimatum. If Busch stays, they are out. We would have understood that too.

If Penske’s decision was made because of the sponsor, that would play right into the corporate-America-calling-all-the-shots scenario. That is perhaps even more troublesome than this being Penske’s decision alone, but that is another story for another day.

Then there is Busch’s lame performance on video where he portrays himself as a businessman trying to decide which career path to choose. That isn’t real either, especially since he is the same guy we saw verbally assault Jerry Punch during an interview at Homestead. Where is the believability?

On so many levels, this story has been upsetting, not the least of which is that no matter what the reality of the situation, Kurt Busch let his bad behavior potentially doom a promising career. Busch, is after all, a past champion in the sport we all care about.

I feel for him and wish him well. Perhaps he does need to seek professional help for anger management. And, he should take his brother with him. It would be a shame to waste this incredible talent. I just hope it isn’t too late.

My New Year’s Resolution for NASCAR in 2012 is in the form of a reality check.
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