People Dislike Kurt Busch? Go Figure

Forbes Magazine released a poll on Wednesday ranking America’s most disliked athletes. Making the list were the infamous like Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick and the overexposed like Tiger Woods and Kris Humphries.

Joining those mentioned above and others was the only NASCAR driver to register in the top 12, Kurt Busch. Perhaps not surprisingly, 42% of respondents said they disliked him.

Busch, as Forbes points out, is notorious for his outbursts against his crew and crew chief and tantrums (like the one below) that led to his ouster (which may or may not have been mutual) at Penske Racing.

Busch’s position as most disliked NASCAR driver in this survey is interesting if only for the fact that I don’t think it’s true with fans of the sport. I suspect Kurt’s brother Kyle holds a more negative position in the minds of fans.

No doubt Kurt Busch is toxic right now. Richard Petty intimated (or I suppose outright said) as much last month. He said:

Nobody at the time wanted to pay the bill for him. That’s how simple it was.

And this is probably why he even made it into the psyche of people surveyed.

This season is going to be pivotal for Busch as he attempts a comeback. Can he make changes and be a more tempered – and likeable – figure? Time will tell.

Before I go, one more time for your viewing pleasure, the straw that broke the camel’s back…

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28 Responses to “People Dislike Kurt Busch? Go Figure”

  1. Derek Green says:

    Looks like “Nobody at the time wanted to pay the bill for him.” was more like “Nobody wants to pay the bills to see him drive your junk” I noticed one thing about that list of athletes, they were the top of their profession. Kurt and all those other stars need not worry aout their jobs because when it all boils down performance is all that matters in sports. No matter how much they are bashed in the media to sell copy talking heads cannot change that.

  2. Neon says:

    I’m not a fan of the Busch boys smugness, but their driving talent is good for the sport. NASCAR, team owners and sponsors love their persona in the good vs evil “show”. That is…right up until their actions cross into to physical & verbal assault realm. That’s when they all get nervous. I’ve watched the KB video several times since Homestead this comes to mind. Yeah KB is being a jerk and I’m not excusing his language and actions, but in this day & age of almost instantaneous video/audio editing, why in the world can’t Dr. Jerry and crew simply shoot that piece in the heat of the moment w/o standing around for minutes and the production team simply insert it at an opportune time in the broadcast? They can bleep the language and any gestures before airing if need be, because us at home watching on TV wouldn’t have clue when KB actually did the interview and it wouldn’t really even matter. Go figure?

  3. grumpiestoldman says:

    As a member of Kurt Busch Nation, we love that so much hate is directed at KuBu. It’s easy to be a E jr. fan, but Busch Brother fans are tougher.

    I have a question for you guys: I’ve heard that KuBu is so set on rehabbing his image for next year, that he is personally making up the difference in sponsorship funding and the costs to run the 51 team from his own pocket. (Which is also why he took on so much with the Monster Nationwide team with his brother…to bring in some money.) True?

  4. KC says:

    I think re-posting this is mean-spirited. Remember, what goes around comes around.

  5. Darren says:

    I agree with your comment that he is not the most disliked by “fans of the sport”. There are certainly plenty of people that don’t like him but there are also plenty that do. I think that is the key. There aren’t many undecided fans. You either like him or you don’t. He’s what politicians call divisive. He has those bad moments everyone knows about but then there are times when he does or says things other drivers aren’t willing to say. Such as last season at Pocono when Johnson tried to put a fender to him to hold him back and Busch just went right back at him and later said “Why can’t we race each other like this and put on show for the fans and not have a problem with it? I don’t know.” and all JJ did was complain that someone dared scratch his paint and race him. Like many I wish off the track he would show better judgment and respect to people. It sounds like he is working on it and knows there is a problem. On the track though…just keep doing your thing.

  6. Sue Rarick says:

    Not also mentioned is that area was normally not a public area. But a couple of idiots there as part of the iRacing community took the video.

    Now the funny part of this is that they were Landon Cassill fans (who raced for Finch). So their actions led to him getting fired by Phoenix when Kurt got hired by them. Poetic justice for those fans.

  7. Journo says:

    KC – We haven’t made it onto any “Most Disliked” lists yet, but I suspect, like you apparently, it’s only a matter of time.

  8. Journo says:

    Derek – The thing is, Petty already had sponsorship lined up. It was that sponsorship that didn’t have any interest in Busch. From Petty’s perspective, dumping an existing sponsor for Busch didn’t make sense. Another thing to remember, RPM had a win last year which is a lot more than a lot of teams can say.

  9. Journo says:

    grumpiestoldman – I can’t give you any great information, but it wouldn’t be surprising given the situation he was in.

  10. Woogeroo says:

    People PROFUSELY disliked and DESPISED Dale Earnhardt too… but someone was buying them t-shirts, hot wheels, hats, bumper stickers and die casts and… no one remembers that now that he’s graveyard. It muddles up the ‘legend’.

    Personally I liked Kurt better before they sent him to media/charm school, when he’d say things to rile people up. At least he was being honest and putting something interesting out there instead of the same old blandness.

    Every generation has that group of drivers people say no one likes… but they are still successful on track and move product.

    hmmmn.

    -W

  11. i FOR ONE LIKE BOTH KURT AND KYLE. [OFF THE WALL THEY ARE.] BUT THEY SURE CAN WHEEL A RACE CAR. BUT WILL STICK WITH MY ONE AND ONLY{mark martin.

  12. sMITH says:

    People hate a winner!

  13. old nascar says:

    I think they got the WRONG BUSCH. i think KYLE is lot worse then Kurt. Kyle was making news all the time for his antics.
    KYLE would get my vote

  14. Woogeroo says:

    I’d root for Kyle if he were still in Chevy!

    Bow Ties Forever!!!!

    -W

  15. Steven Mills says:

    Very disappointed in Journo and this blog for rehashing this story in this manner. I can see the printed part as a news story. However, posting the link to the video was over the top. It was already on your blog. Everyone who cares to watch it already had. So I question the “Media Value” of posting the video. I suspect, and it is only supposition, but Journo are you Dr. Jerry Punch? You seem to be taking this a bit far, as in you got you feelings hurt when Kurt used profane language, and other unacceptable methods to get you to do your job, if in fact you are Dr. Punch.

    Kurt behaved very badly. He said he was wrong. He says he is working to control his evil ways. As my Bible says, “Let him without sin cast the first stone”. So, may I respectfully request you take a step back, and see if Kurt is gonna grow up and change his ways.

    Ok, I will step down from my soapbox now. Let the tirade begin.

  16. Journo says:

    Steven – I can assure you I’m not Jerry Punch – I surely wouldn’t be doing this if I was. On top of being very entertaining, the video is a very relevant part of Kurt making this Forbes list and his story and situation over the last several months. Believe me, Kurt Busch is hardly the first driver to spew profanities at Jerry Punch or any other member of the media.

  17. Keith_KaGee says:

    Jerry Punch claims he’s put this behind him, maybe the rest of us should too.

  18. MS says:

    Kurt seems to have figured out that much of the bad behavior is a symptom of hating the job. It may start with hating losing, but at some point the losses mount and it becomes hating the job itself. And apparently Kurt crossed that threshold a while back. So give the guy credit for apparently figuring out he needs to chill this year have some fun and rediscover the joy of doing this stuff and then go forward from there. Hope it works out for him.

  19. Eric says:

    @grumpiestoldman KuBu? WTF?

    I think both Busch bros are hated because they whine. The difference, Kyle wins races everywhere, Kurt, not so much. Kurt also acts like a girl with his stomping down pit road to confront the crew chief of the driver who just spun him out, face all red, ears as elfy as ever, he looked like a Charlie Weaver doll.

    Ya, Kyle gets beat up by old men, but that dude can drive.

    Im saying Kurt is hated the most.

  20. Eric says:

    Journo, dat true? Youre Journo?

  21. Mark says:

    Kurt is definitely unpopular driver due to some of his antics, but I still think that Kyle is more disliked among NASCAR fans than Kurt. I think Kyle is guilty of a lot more temper tantrums than Kurt, but Kyle is more of a winner and can get away with it a little more. Kurt will quickly fall off the list if he just keeps his mouth shut. I think Jr is a more polarizing figure among fans than Kurt is. It seems like everyone either loves or hate Jr. There are very few fans that have a neutral position on Jr.

  22. Kevin says:

    Taking a guy who’s had a really Shi**y day & make him stand around for 10 minutes to be asked some dumb questions that could have been asked on tape & replayed is not fair to the guy. On top of everything else Penske gave him Shi**y cars & a bad crew. He had a lot to be pissed off about. He would have quit that team no matter what. I don’t see him as the bad guy in all this.
    Penske has not done very well in NASCAR, it’s not the driver’s fault.

  23. grumpiestoldman says:

    @ Eric….???? Don’t get your “what the heck”

  24. Eric says:

    @grumpiestoldman, his cute nickname is KuBu? Come on bro, why would they call him that SMH… All the cards are stacked against him..

  25. grumpiestoldman says:

    Welcome to the internet Eric. Kurt is KuBu, Kyle is KyBu. Tony Stewart is FB.

  26. Eric says:

    Thats just not right hahaha

  27. Zieke says:

    Re;6:01 The reason people disliked Earnhardt was that he disrespected the other drivers by wrecking them in one way or another. He would do whatever was necessary to win a race and got away with it, which would not happen in this age. In fact he only did this to Bill Elliot once. I wish I could have what Bill told him after it happened.

  28. Slugwriter says:

    Maybe the next time one of the Busch brothers goes on a tirade and gets in the face of another driver, a crew member, etc., wouldn’t it be cool if the media and Nascar went dark and somebody beat the living crap out of one of the brothers?

    Where’s Cale or Bobby Allison when you need them?

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