Kurt Busch Mellowing Through the Years?

Photo by Jim Fluharty/Harold Hinson Photography

By Tim Packman, Contributing Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Through the years of his championship career, Kurt Busch could be relied on for some great quotes, outtakes and some emotional outbursts.

While most of those outbursts have been over the radio from him to his crew chiefs and crews, others were towards media members. They cost him on both the career and reputation fronts.

However, the 41-year old native of Las Vegas said he’s gone through some growth of his own and toned it down compared to years past.

Such was the case after Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Before the race, the Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota camps all stressed how drivers needed to work with their respective teammates during the race.

After getting wrecked out, like most of the 18-car field, Busch was interviewed and – instead of ranting – he actually offered an alternative format change suggestion in a very calm and veteran manner.

“We’re all racing an analytics race now,” he said, in the garage area. “It was all about fuel mileage, teamwork and manufacturers working together. That’s what we were directed to do and it’s just a matter of getting to the end.

“But we didn’t get to the end. The format needs to change. We need to have cash up for grabs or something every ten laps and see who’s at the end to grab the most cash.

“All of us are just going to ride until we get to that point and that’s when everyone starts wrecking. We just need to figure out how we can make more winners in the same race instead of more wrecked cars.”

A good and valid point that might have some traction for deciding possible Busch Clash format changes in the future.

In November of 2019, Busch and Ganassi announced the signing of a multi-year deal solidifying his tenure there beyond the original one-year agreement. He made The Playoffs last year after winning at Kentucky Speedway, which was a first for Chevrolet at the 1.5-mile track.

As the 2020 season begins, the 2017 Daytona 500 champion returns to the No. 1 Chevrolet of Chip Ganassi Racing for the second year. With 30 NASCAR Cup Series wins, the 2004 Championship and more than 650-career starts to his credit, has Busch mellowed a little through the years?

“I’d say the big thing has been patience, being older and wiser through the years,” he said. “I have a good perspective, and also a confident perspective, of what I’ve done in this sport for 20 years.

“Trying to teach a lot of up-and-coming crew members is something I enjoy. There’s a lot of things I do with sponsors that are great to do as a veteran.

“These days, I’m just smiling and enjoying the ride.”

One Comment

  1. Brandon S

    February 11, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Great read! With Kurt being my favorite driver, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that he has 31 wins instead of the 30 you stated in your article LOL. Great job!

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