Kurt and Kyle Busch, two names that ring loud with emotion for many NASCAR fans. Some love them, others hate them. What they bring to the sport is much more than fan reaction, though. They bring passion, excitement, and most of all, two sources of incredible talent. How will the sport endure a time of no Busch brother being in competition in the near future?
Dismissed by NASCAR due to actions detrimental to stock car racing, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, was denied on both his first and final appeal to reverse the punishment brought down on him by NASCAR. Suspected of actions of domestic violence, but not yet criminally charged, Kurt Busch was indefinitely suspended from racing in NASCAR, meaning his return will not be welcome until the sanctioning body allows it under their own discretion.
Whether the accusations prove to be true or false, has yet to be determined by the court, but the entire light of the case has brought a dark cloud over the sport.
Another dark cloud appeared on another side of NASCAR Saturday evening at Daytona.
As Kyle Busch came diving off of the track in the Xfinity Series season opener in his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota and made head-on contact with the inside retaining wall, a non-SAFER barrier, Daytona International Speedway officials perhaps realized their negligence to fully protect the drivers to the best of their ability. Busch was taken straight to nearby Halifax Medical Center where he was found to have suffered both a right leg compound fracture and fractured left foot. An injury of this severity most likely means months away from the car for the driver of the No. 18 Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series.
While NASCAR suffers from one dark cloud over the portrayal of a driver’s behavior at home, it also suffers from a dark cloud over it’s ability to protect its drivers and their control over what tracks do to keep the drivers safe. What gets lost in all of this is the absence of two major talents in the Sprint Cup Series.
Two top teams are without two of their strongest drivers. Multiple major sponsors are now in limbo with replacement drivers yet to be determined. Two easily Chase-worthy drivers will be missing out on many chances to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Dozens of crew members who worked tirelessly over the off-season building cars for their driver now wait for an answer as to who will be behind the wheel.
One driver had no control over his situation and now suffers the agony of being held from the car due to injury, while the other now suffers from the consequences of what may or may not have happened in his motorhome in September 2014.
The 2015 Daytona 500 marked the first race without a Busch since Atlanta in 2001. Each lap certainly missed the daring moves of Kyle, as well of the veteran experience Kurt brings to the track.
Two of the most hated, while also most loved–in an almost envious way–drivers in the series were missing in the 2015 Daytona 500, and they will be missing for much of the foreseeable future. With two completely different dark clouds above each driver, it is not only unfortunate for them, but also unfortunate for the sport of NASCAR.