Out the other side of a career-threatening legal case, Kurt Busch looks ahead
FREAKY FAST OUT OF THE STARTING GATE
When Kevin Harvick surged decisively
to the NASCAR Sprint Cup title late last
year, it was hard to see how he could
become any more dominant a player...but
thus far in 2015, it looks like that might
merely have been a warm-up act.
The Stewart-Haas Chevy driver scored
back-to-back overpowering wins in Las
Vegas and Phoenix – leading 224 of 312
laps at the latter – living up to the “Freaky
Fast!” slogan on his Jimmy John’s
Sandwiches-backed car in those races.
At Gainesville, Ron Capps took the slippery
new Dodge Charger R/T body to its third win
in as many Funny Car starts. “We won a lot
of races with the old Charger but this new
one is like night and day,” enthused Capps.
In the case of Phoenix it was hardly a
surprise, being his fifth win in the last six
Cup races at the track. However, it built
on a record of steady performances that
included seven consecutive finishes of
either first or second dating back to last
season. Even to the unflappable champ
himself, this amazingly consistent run of
speed was extraordinary.
“It’s almost scary,” he said. “You don’t
want to talk about it too much because
you want to keep it going.”
The most difficult period yet of Kurt
Busch’s stormy career ended when
NASCAR lifted his suspension ahead of
the fourth round of the Sprint Cup
season at Phoenix. It had been imposed
after a Kent County (Delaware) Court
approved ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll’s
request for a no-contact order against
Busch, amid allegations that he had
assaulted her last September at Dover.
The suspension was lifted following
confirmation that Busch would not face
criminal charges over the incident.
TAMING THE MONSTER
PLENTY TO BE
straight top-2 finishes
matched a record last
managed by Richard
Petty in 1975. J o n
NASCAR also waived the requirement
that drivers complete all races in order to
be eligible for the Chase – opening the
door to the playoff series for Busch, who
missed three races during his suspension.
While adamant that he had done
nothing wrong, Busch agreed to complete
a reinstatement program that included
mandatory behavioral assessment
sessions and the recommendations of a
behavioral healthcare expert.
“I understand why NASCAR needed to
take the action that it did,” Busch said.
“I’ve gone through this with confidence
knowing that I know the truth and that I
never did any of the things that I was
accused of. It was a complete fabrication.
“I never lost that confidence and that
drive,” he added, “and so it’s a humbling
experience, but it’s made me more
focused and determined.”
Harvick’s getting more than used to
this duty after Sprint Cup races.
claim that he didn’t
lose focus during
his suspension, Kurt
Busch was an
immediate force on
his return to racing.
At Phoenix, Busch
and pacesetter Kevin
Harvick for much of
the race, then
finished fifth. “There
were a few times
I was determined
enough to overdrive
it,” admitted Busch.
“We got a little
bit too loose…and
I ran out of tools in
the car to charge
on that final
restart.” He’d made
his point, though.
The intensity that has driven
Kurt Busch throughout his
career remained undimmed
by his drawn-out legal battle.
“I KNOW THE TRUTH AND THAT I
NEVER DID ANY OF THE THINGS
I WAS ACCUSED OF. IT WAS A