Jun 04, 2012
SPEED Analysts Steve Byrnes, Matt Clark & Kenny Wallace React to Kurt Busch Suspension
Press Release

Today, NASCAR suspended NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch until June 13, and extended his probation until Dec. 31.

Here are quotes from SPEED analysts on the news…

Steve Byrnes, SPEED NASCAR Race Hub Host:

“I saw him with Jerry Punch (earlier in the day) and he seemed fine. Then, later that night when I actually saw it (Busch’s interview with Bob Pockrass) on Facebook, my feeling was that he was going to get into trouble. Not because of that one incident, but because of the totality of what’s gone on this year. He was pretty abusive of NASCAR at Darlington (S.C.) – to the tower – during the race, and I just think it’s the totality of what’s gone on. I really don’t think it was this incident at all. To me, it’s NASCAR’s way of sending him a message.

“Here’s what’s sad about it. Earlier this year, even though he didn’t have a lot of finishes to show the success, I think a lot of people were starting to say, ‘You know, he’s doing a great job.’ Let’s face it; Phoenix Racing isn’t a well-funded team. But we were starting to hear his name again in the garage area. He might wind up at (car owner) Richard Childress, he might wind up here…, so to me, it looked like everything was headed in the right direction. This year, for 2012, there wasn’t even a contract with (current car owner) James Finch, it was a handshake. It seemed like Kurt was making the most of it, and I thought it was kind of a year of redemption for Kurt Busch.

“He’s a former champion, he’s won over 20 races and who wouldn’t want him in the car. What makes this complicated is that it’s a little different from the NFL and Major League Baseball, and that you aren’t just representing a team, but you are representing sponsors. NASCAR drivers are held to a little higher standard than other athletes. Like it or not, it’s what they sign up for.”

Matt Clark, SPEED NASCAR Analyst:

“I’m surprised that NASCAR did that, based on (his interview.) But they took the verbal threat very seriously, and I guess they felt they had to act. I’ll be very interested to see, as we move forward, exactly how all of this plays out. They have sat him out for a week, and I guess they are tired of his antics. It’s a unique deal.

“I think that’s (his future) the biggest concern. It’s one of those deals where he’s trying to do his best, be on his best behavior, but everything they do is scrutinized. Kurt reacted to a question… it doesn’t bode well, at least in the short term, for how owners and sponsors view him.”

Kenny Wallace, SPEED NASCAR RaceDay Analyst:
“I believe this is what Kurt needed to realize that this sport can move on without him, or any other driver that’s talented like him. This is a message sent to all drivers that they aren’t bigger than the sport. NASCAR has told me, my whole career, that it isn’t just about me and that there are 100 more lined up behind us, and are just as talented as we are.

“I believe he needs some serious anger management. I know that he’s a sweetheart, and that he’s given a lot of money to a lot of charities, but that doesn’t excuse him from being so mean, and cussing out everyone who’s been so good to him.”

“I am a huge Kurt Busch fan and I’m not going to pile on Kurt Busch. But this isn’t just about what happened at Dover on Saturday. This is Homestead. This is Darlington. This is Dover. These are all the things that NASCAR had to take a big-picture look at and I think that’s the reason the suspension was handed down today.

SPEED analyst Larry McReynolds joined host Steve Byrnes and Matt Clark on Monday’s NASCAR Race Hub, offering his perspective on Busch’s situation and the resulting punishment.  Following are excerpts from McReynolds’ analysis:

“He has a championship and 24 Sprint Cup Series wins. He alone is holding his career in the palm of his hands and he’s absolutely throwing it away. It makes me want to shake him and say, ‘Kurt, please take a look at what you’re doing.’

“I’m okay with what we saw there on the race track (racing against Justin Allgaier in Nationwide race at Dover). I’m okay with him confronting Justin Allgaier on pit road. We don’t have enough of that right now. That’s something that is missing in the sport. But this is not about passion – this is about respect for people – people like us (media) who are trying to grow and build this sport.

“I said on NASCAR RaceDay from Dover that the next 60 to 90 days for Kurt Busch are going to be so critical, not for what he does on the race track but how he handles situations. Just this morning, JD Gibbs was asked on Sirius Radio if he and Joe (Gibbs) would consider Kurt Busch for a ride, and he said because of things going on with Kurt Busch off the race track, it wouldn’t even be on their radar. As I said, he is self-destructing and he’s in control of it.”

About SPEED™ 

SPEED, anchored by its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in nearly 84 million homes in North America, SPEED, a member of the FOX Sports Media Group, is among the industry leaders in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services, including SPEED2, a groundbreaking new broadband network featuring live, streaming and on-demand events complementing offerings of the linear network. For more information, please visit, the online motor sports authority.

About FOX Sports Media Group:

FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets under Chairman & CEO David Hill. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises on MSN, and, reaching over 30 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox’s interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills.

Source: SPEED, Press Release

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