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OPINION: NASCAR Shouldn’t Take Drastic Action Against Kyle Busch
- Updated: March 13, 2017
By Jerry Jordan, Editor
LAS VEGAS – This isn’t going to be a popular stance because it seems everyone hates Kyle Busch and what he did was wrong … sort of. But in the grand scheme of things he singlehandedly (no pun intended) ratcheted-up the excitement level of the weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and did more to get NASCAR in front of people than anything else that happened on the track.
First, despite what a few media colleagues have written, the race was NOT a snooze fest. There was a lot of action on the track and there were great battle for position. Look at Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott as two examples of drivers who would say they weren’t bored. It seems some people are never happy about anything and don’t want to give anything a chance to settle in.
Sadly, NASCAR may, probably, possibly, likely penalize Busch and it will be deserved as long as he isn’t suspended – he never should have sucker-punched Joey Logano but it wasn’t like he did any damage.. The better move would have been for them to go toe-to-toe. One thing that was a problem was that crew members can’t seem to just let drivers fight it out – they want in on the action and that’s when things get dangerous. Yes, children were likely watching but parents can make this a teaching moment on how not to behave. As for Busch, he has to live down multiple videos of Mike “Big Mike” Lancaster tossing him around like a ragdoll. Then there is that whole bloody face thing.
Social media will serve as a cruel reminder that he isn’t George Foreman.
No one is saying violence is “okay” but the age of having drivers be “best friends” needs to come to a close. The sport has an edgy sponsor in Monster Energy, which isn’t afraid of controversy – just look what they did following the USA Today fake news about the “outrage” over Monster Girls. Nothing.
Why? Because Monster Energy isn’t the typical politically correct company that kowtows to the masses.
Back in December when Monster Energy was announced as the title sponsor, the company’s chief marketing officer, Mark Hall, was clear that he wanted tension. He liked controversy and Monster Energy wasn’t worried about ruffling feathers.
“You know, I was thinking back on the day we got started and how long we’ve thought about the sport and how we view it for a while,” Hall said. “I think it’s been nine or 10 years since Robby Gordon was our first foray in there, and I remember it was a great day for me when Robby threw his helmet at some guy because that was the only time I ever got it on camera. I actually called him up and said, Robby, can you do that some more?
“The challenge is to make your product relevant …”
One thing is certain, at least, for the next few news cycles, NASCAR is relevant. ESPN, CNN, FOX and Drudge Report were all talking about the fight. And, of course, the video from JeffGluck.com showing the melee has gone viral.
If that doesn’t make a product relevant then there is no hope. Monster Energy and NASCAR both got something good out of it and it’s a happy day when people are standing around the water cooler talking about your product.
In the words of 19th century showman P.T. Barnum, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”