On Tuesday night, defending Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart hosted a special edition of his semi-annual "Tony Stewart Live" show on Sirius NASCAR Radio, and, of course, the topic of Kurt Busch and his suspension came up.
Busch was suspended by NASCAR on Monday for Sunday's race at Pocono for remarks he made to the Sporting News' Bob Pockrass for a question that was (legitimately and respectfully) posed to Busch about racing with Justin Allgaier after Saturday's Nationwide race.
As has been well documented, Stewart and the media have a relationship that can alternate between contentious and cordial seemingly dependent on the wind, humidity, Stewart's attitude or simply his choice of deodorant. So when Stewart offered up his view on Busch's response and the events surrounding it, you can probably guess the angle already.
It's sad but true. And honestly Kurt is right, Bob Pockrass is probably the biggest mixer in the whole media center.
Every time he interviews somebody it is strictly about something controversial, so that's just kind of his angle, but, you know, just because he asks you a question… the great thing I've learned is when it comes to Pockrass, if I don't — if he asks me something that I know — which 9 times out of 10 it's something that is going to make you frustrated, you just don't even answer it. Just go on to the next question.
Unfortunately there's too many of those guys out there but, I'll be honest, I liked his answer (chuckles). I kind of thought it was good when it pertains to Bob Pockrass. Bob's a decent guy, he just, there's so many good things to write about in our sport and there's a couple of reporters out there that strictly want to be tabloid journalists and unfortunately he's one of them.
Let's get this out of the way: this entire situation should in no way be a referendum on Pockrass, no matter what Tony Stewart says. (Turning into such is a distraction from the larger issue.) Bob is not TMZ. Far from it. There's a reason he's respected by so many.
If you can separate Stewart's criticism of what he perceives to be unfair tactics, he's got a great point about the entire incident that could have kept Busch on the Pocono entry list. (Hint, it's answer B from Jay Busbee's post on Sunday.)
Journalists have an obligation to the public to ask questions about topics that at times may seem "controversial" to the newsmakers involved. And a lot of times, those "controversial" topics are the ones that are on many people's minds.
But guess what? The people who are asked the questions have no obligation to answer them. Had Busch simply said "no comment," thanked his sponsor, or talked about the how well the team and the guys back at the shop did, he avoids the topic fairly easily. And he's racing at Pocono. Instead, we're still discussing what should have been a fairly routine post-race interview from Saturday on Tuesday.