Geoff’s Journal: Busch missed an opportunity
Photo by Brian DeGruchy/

Kyle Busch during pre-race introductions at Phoenix International Speedway.

By Geoff Bodine Driver Analyst March 27, 2016

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Kyle Busch’s avoidance of the media at Auto Club Speedway was met with a monetary fine and probation by NASCAR Wednesday. I was watching the XFINITY Series race with my wife Lori, and when I saw him walk away post-race, I told her, “He blew it.” That was a golden opportunity for Busch to be the bigger person and potentially be a role model for people dealing with their problems.

I love the kid, he’s a great driver. I love his enthusiasm and passion to win. But he needs to take advantage of these situations that will arise throughout his career. He’s not the first driver to mess up, and he won’t be the last.

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/
Kyle Busch celebrates his XFINITY Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a burnout. 

Pessimism to Optimism There’s more to being a winner in the race—being a winner in life.

When people can see a public figure twist a negative situation into a positive one, hopefully it influences them to do the same thing when a situation arises for them.

A driver is going to have bad days at the track, but what that does is it gives them the opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one. A driver can influence people in a positive way. He did such a great job continuing on with the tire blowing. He almost came away with the victory, despite the situation. He had a great opportunity to enjoy what he did because it was a great accomplishment. He could have talked to the cameras about what it was like to almost win the race on three wheels. I understand the desire to win. I NEVER liked to lose. I didn’t go out there to blow a tire or to go out there and crash, but those things happen in auto racing. When those circumstances happen, there’s an opportunity, now more than ever with television media, radio, and new media, to take a tough, negative situation and show folks; show young people, that it’s just a race and isn’t the most important thing in the world.

Drivers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to be a bigger person and be someone to look up to. It always could be worse.

The Penalty

As far as NASCAR’s penalty, it’s not my call to say if it was too harsh or too soft. The sanctioning body has their own standards they go by to assess penalties. They try to be consistent, and they have been criticized before, but they do the best they can.

Photo by Marcus Leno/
Kyle Busch drives down the frontstretch of Auto Club Speedway after the XFINITY Series race's final lap.

NASCAR may not necessarily be trying to make an example of Kyle Busch, but the penalty shows that they are serious about this matter. They want drivers to fulfil the obligations they agreed to.

Duty Calls

As a driver, you need to fulfill what is expected of you, no matter if you win the race or crash out. You agree to abide by those terms when you sign up as a NASCAR competitor.

If somebody had crashed me out, I’d tell my PR people that I would need five minutes to calm down and gain my composure.

The drivers need to think about the big picture when it comes to media requirements. It’s the opportunity to have the fans hear their voice.

The fans are the reason they get to make a really good living in professional racing. Doing the media availabilities are a way of showing appreciation for your supporters. This sport is nothing without them.

The media does a driver good and it shows respect for themselves, their fans, and NASCAR.

Geoff Bodine

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have any questions about the NASCAR industry that doesn’t have a thorough answer? Ask below, and we may have Geoff answer your question in a future installment of "Geoff’s Journal.")

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