DAYTONA BEACH, Fla -- NASCAR has put out a nw video featuring the re-instated Kurt Busch with the message: I just have to go out there and do my job."
What's the point? Why does he have to say it? Is it to convince himself? Convince NASCAR fans? Convince his team? Convince NASCAR? Or is this NASCAR PR? Or perhaps some combination of all of the above?
The age-old adage is yiu keep your mouth shut and you let your driving do your talking for you? He says the team has provided him with the cars. That his name is atop the door. So what?
Hasn't he always been among NASCAR's top-tier talents? He has a Sprint Cup championship to his credit. Dale Earnhrdt, Jr., is trying to garner his first campioship, though Junior has two Daytona 500 championships under his bert while Busch has none.
Busch maintains he was innocent of any wrongdoing that led to his championship. And that was re-empgasized by the [proesecutor's office in Delaware where cklaims of domestic abuse were lodged by his ex-girlfriend. And there was the injuction for protection that led to NASCAR suspending him and focing him to sit out the Daytona 500.
Was there a rush to judgment by NASCAR? Yes.
Is this video, a face-saving gesture for NASCAR with Busch given little or no latitude to protest? You betcha!
But it kind of makes everything just all right now doesn't it? After all, all Kurt Busch has to do now is go out there ad do his job.
From a racing perspective, it seems like he was doing that all along.
Aftert all, it was NASCAR that took him out of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, isn't that correct? Of course, but with this video message, all is right with Kurt Busch. All is right with the world.
Editor's Note: Here is a NASCAR press release that claims Stewart made his pitch to members og th national media, though, clearly he's saying it in a pre-packaghed video.
Sounding every bit resolved and resolute, Kurt Busch addressed the media on Wednesday for the first time since serving what ended up being a three-race suspension from NASCAR for off-track legal issues.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver told the national media he remains focused on his job as driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for the team and has been "humbled" from the whole experience.
"I understand why NASCAR needed to take the action that it did. This is a very serious issue,'' Busch said. "The important factor is that what I was accused of was a complete fabrication, and I never wavered through this whole process because of the confidence in the truth, and I had the support from Gene Haas and everybody at SHR, and that's where my focus has been. It's been on the racing side of it, and I never lost that confidence and that drive, and so it's a humbling experience, but it's made me more focused and determined."
NASCAR suspended the 2004 Cup champion indefinitely on Feb. 20 after a Delaware judge issued a no-contact order for Busch, writing that Busch "likely" committed an act of domestic abuse against his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll stemming from an incident Sept. 26, 2014 at Dover International Speedway.
The Delaware Attorney General's office announced March 5 it would not pursue criminal charges against Busch. And on Wednesday, NASCAR reinstated Busch with the caveat that he is under indefinite probation and must adhere to any judicial requirements asked of him and remain in a treatment program as part of NASCAR's Road to Recovery.
"I'm appreciative of the process, of the road to recovery,'' Busch said. "To me it's a roadmap that they laid out that I am respecting. It's created such a good foundation to utilize moving forward that I wish I would have done it sooner."
The hardest part of the last two months?
"Sitting out watching the 41 car go around the race track, especially at the Daytona 500,'' Busch said. "Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, and Las Vegas is my hometown track. It's been torture sitting out of the car.
"Being in that race car is a privilege, and it's a feeling that you can't describe when you go out there for practice each and every weekend. You drive down into the corner, the car sticks, you stand on the gas, and you drive out of the corner, it's an experience that not a lot of people get to do, and I get a chance to race against the best in the world in NASCAR."
Busch also disclosed a recent insightful conversation he had with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.
"Talking with Brian France and going through this road, he told me, 'Don't change,' '' Busch said. "(He told me) 'Don't be the person that's different in the car, but be a different person outside of the car,' and so Brian said, 'Go be yourself in that car. That's what we really love. We love Kurt Busch behind the wheel. Go out there, use that passion, go for those wins.'
"And that's my focus is to be humble through this whole process, but let actions speak louder than words."
Busch would not specify if he would pursue further legal action to clear his name or have the no-contact order rescinded, instead deferring that course of action to his attorneys.
He did say, however, that his trademark "Outlaw" moniker that has ridden above the driver's side window of his race cars in competition would likely be replaced with his signature.
"My reputation has always been what I've done behind the wheel, and it's moments that I hope to battle and put out on the track like I did with Ricky Craven in the closest finish in the history of NASCAR," Busch said. "It's to focus on the wins at the tracks that I haven't won on or to deliver for Gene Haas on the trophies that he signed me on for that he wants in his trophy room.
"My reputation will iron itself out in whichever way that it is, but my focus is the race car, and as I move forward, I'm putting my signature above the door of the car, and I'm proud to have my signature on the side of a car that Gene Haas has and to carry his name into Victory Lane."