Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at email@example.com (note new address) or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
Remember, even though the season's done, we're not. Usual nonsense here every day of the week. And hey, if you want to get a letter printed, NOW IS THE TIME. We'll need plenty o'material for this feature each week.
Jonesing for NASCAR yet? I enjoy the offseason (such as it is, with crew chiefs getting whacked faster than extras in "The Walking Dead") but I'll admit it: there are times when I'll be pushing a cart in the grocery store, I'll see two carts stopped ahead of me, and I'll hammer down and blow right through them. Carl Edwards would not approve, but I didn't see the yellow flag. And there's no Lucky Dog for the Express Lane. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds like it ought to be someone's mantra.)
Anyway, to your letters. And the topic of the week, of course, is the employment prospects of one Kurtis Ebenezer Busch:
Jay, nobody has mentioned the fact that Kurt Busch owns his own Pro Stock team. My bet is that he goes NHRA racing in the interim while things cool down. You heard it here first!
Hey, you know what no one has mentioned? That Kurt Busch might go full-time into the NHRA! I'm the first one to say that! I — oh, wait, you probably read that letter above, didn't you?
No, Busch will be back in a Sprint Cup car next year every race if only for one reason: the past champion's provisional. That's invaluable for a small team, and while the thought of Kurt running in a start-and-park car kind of upsets me on an aesthetic level, it may well be one of his few viable options, at least initially. (God bless you, Kurt, but nobody's buying that "phone ringing off the hook" line.)
If Busch can get his act together — and hey, let's be optimistic and say he can — he'll find jobs available for him. (Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. ought to be a little nervous.) But he's got a long way to go to prove himself to both sponsors and team owners. Talent alone isn't enough; Busch is very good, but not so good that people are willing to put up with his associated garbage and baggage (baggage filled with garbage?) if things don't go his way.
Did anyone notice that when all the NFL shows were talking about Ndamukong Suh that they could have been talking about Kyle Busch? All the same language, just a different name.
Well, to be fair, Busch didn't stomp anybody. Also to be fair, Suh didn't hit anybody with a car. (Although he apparently came pretty close.) But in both cases, you've got guys who are the logical outgrowth of a system that protects and excuses everything right up to criminality. That, and both of them might just be jerks.
There's probably a good column to be written comparing guys like Suh and Busch. Somebody get Wetzel on that.
I always say I'm done writing letters but the mailbag is just so awesome! [Aw, flattery. -JB] Since we're at the point where there really is no big news to talk about in NASCAR here are some topics you may throw your opinions at. 1st: Describe the crowd and/or the TV ratings if Junior ever won the title. 2nd: Describe the reactions/conspiracy theories if Jimmie Johnson won it again. 3rd: Would Jeff Gordon retire if he won his 5th title? Just some things to think about to keep you busy during the down time.
1. I'm starting to think we're overestimating the power of Junior. He'd get plenty of attention, but is he going to bring in new fans or just reclaim some lapsed ones? Certainly, there'd be plenty of coverage, but NASCAR needs more new faces to appeal to new fans. Junior's a known commodity.
2. Depends on how he won it, but ... aw, no it doesn't. If Johnson wins another title, or heaven forbid starts knocking on the door of seven, you'll see enough conspiracy theories to make JFK look as cut-and-dried as the theory of gravity. (We all do accept that gravity exists, right?) No matter who wins forevermore, there will be complaints.
3. I don't think he'd retire immediately; he's far too valuable a commodity. He's like the Rolling Stones; he's no longer completely in charge of his own destiny. And while it's easier to play a guitar at age 60 than drive a race car, the same principle applies: Gordon keeps hundreds of people in business across his race team and his sponsors, and it'd be tough to walk away from that before time had its way with you.
While I don't personally have any issues with drivers cussing anytime (it just shows honest emotion), as a former radio announcer, I will point out that use of those seven words that George Carlin so famously made an entire comedy routine out of over a broadcast radio is technically illegal under F.C.C. regulations. While I think $50,000 is a little bit much for flipping an interviewer off, by taking a step showing that they're addressing the problem may stave off even more drastic actions taken by the government, especially if the whiners at the Parents Resource Council decide to complain about the cursing. It's bad enough that those of us at home watch a race broadcast that's delayed by 7 to 10 seconds in order to catch most of these things. I'd hate to see that delay get longer to satisfy the censorship crowd.
—Mr. Bad Example
Hang on, is it illegal if it's an opt-in channel the way that the NASCAR broadcasts are? I understand if the network let something slip, but I was under the impression that this is the equivalent of an R-rated movie; you know going in that there might be some things you don't want to witness. Like Adam Sandler.
Aside: live radio is a hell of a lot of fun. We do a couple shows a week, local and national, and I've only once screwed up and cussed on the air. You know how cats and dogs are different? Yeah, I called the host a cat. Kind of. And it wasn't satellite radio, alas.
I sincerely hope that the issue of cursing on the radio isn't on the government's radar. I'd be a lot more worried about the sponsors if I were you. It's only a matter of time before some driver starts lashing out at another with "Red Bull gives you wings, but it apparently doesn't give you talent"-type lines.
And now, since it's the offseason, a musical interlude. Unreleased Metallica, anyone?