No, there is no story other than Kurt Busch and Penske parting ways right now, and here's the latest twist: over at KurtBusch.com, which has already been stripped of anything resembling a Shell logo, Busch offers up an interesting little fireside chat about his separation (firing? quitting? mutually agreed parting?) from Penske Racing.
The video, which looks like it was shot while Busch was preparing for a Christmas card photo, is a little odd, to say the least. For one thing, it starts cold, with nothing other than Busch's name and signature to lead off. (Granted, intro music would have been strange, though I would have gone with either "Take This Job and Shove It" or "Bad Romance." Or maybe a Christmas carol. That would have been cool.)
Busch isn't quite looking at the camera, which gives the viewer the unsettling feeling that he's not really paying attention to us. And while he has the patented Kurt-Busch-in-sponsor-mode patter down, you can see cracks around the edges. Look at the 1:22 mark, where the mask starts to crack as he says "I needed to put the fun back into racing." And watch him flinch right afterward when he talks about walking away from his "lucrative contract." Ouch.
Here's the thing, though: cringeworthy as some moments are in this video, this isn't meant as a slam at Busch. It makes him more human, seeing him speak for three uninterrupted minutes, seeing him as somewhere between the robotic interview machine and the profanity-spewing caricature.
Busch has a long way to go to get into the good graces of NASCAR fans. This is a tough way to learn a hard lesson about attitude, but Busch has the opportunity here to make some real changes. It'll be interesting to see what he says on video the next time he's got a Christmas tree up.
- Kurt Busch