Via (Heavy.com) - April 13, 2022
2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch will make his return to the FOX Sports booth at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16. He will help call the Camping World Truck Series race while using the platform to “give back” to the sport and its fans.
The 23XI Racing driver talked to Heavy ahead of the trip to Bristol Motor Speedway and provided some more information about why he continues to add in-booth appearances to his weekly schedule. He explained that his goal is to educate and entertain viewers while simultaneously making them want to attend a race in person.
“For me, it’s giving back to a sport that’s given me so much to jump in there and to just entertain our current fans, to develop new fans, and to give it from my perspective,” Busch told Heavy. “It’s been fun, and it’s a unique challenge as well.
“For the viewers listening, it’s to really define things that they might not have seen before and to learn about our sport, whether it’s a track or the car/truck,” Busch added. “To talk about the aerodynamics and the mechanical side of the car. There’s so many different categories. It’s endless. And it’s fun to get comments back on how people have enjoyed listening to me and watching me on TV and then not have too many drivers text me and complain that I was dogging them too hard.”
Busch Works More in the Truck Series
The veteran driver has extensive experience working with Adam Alexander on the Xfinity Series side, but he has spent more time in the Truck Series booth with Vince Welch and Michael Waltrip. He has called both regular-season and playoff races alike, and he was on hand for the race at World Wide Technology Racewayon August 20, 2021, where the power went out.
“You know, I’ve been on TV with Vince Welch, Michael Waltrip. Those two are pros, and they’ve done it for so long. I’m learning from them and getting the cues on when to speak and when to add in and when to go to commercial break and working with the producers. There’s a lot going on. It’s really, again, a fun challenge, and it keeps me locked in for race weekend with a lack of practice on the Cup side. This helps [me] kind of get zoned in sooner, like a normal routine that I’ve been on for the last 22 years.”
Busch has to balance all of the things happening in the booth, as well as the unexpected moments that take place on the track, while continuing to provide important information for the viewers. He will also occasionally have to provide commentary as drivers fight, such as at Kentucky Speedway when Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton threw punches after on-track contact.
These moments only test Busch’s skills as a broadcaster, but he is able to help keep the coverage moving forward while providing solid commentary. Though he will also recognize the need to step aside for the veteran broadcasters that have called dozens of unexpected moments during their time in the booth.
“Yeah, those are tough ones, you know, when it’s the emotion and it’s outside of the car,” Busch explained. “You know, there’s always things that happen behind the scenes that we don’t know about or that developed and we’re trying to make sure we keep the fans all up to speed on all of the facts. And sometimes those facts slip through and I think that’s where a guy like Adam Alexander, Vince Welch — Mike joy is an artist at tying in longtime stories or facts from long ago — and those are the greats of the sport.”
What About a Future in the Booth?
Busch has achieved success in the booth while working alongside some veteran broadcasters, and he has drawn praise from viewers. Does this mean that he will automatically join FOX Sports after he retires from full-time competition? The answer remains unclear.
As Busch explained, there is a possibility that he adds even more races to his commentary schedule after he retires. He certainly enjoys the work and challenging himself in an entirely different arena.
However, he isn’t making a decision anytime soon. His number one focus is continuing to battle for wins while making 23XI Racing into a championship-contending organization. Busch is only in his first season with the Cup Series team, and he is not thinking about anything else.
“Yeah, right now it’s a different challenge for me,” Busch said. “It’s compartmentalizing the whole TV side and then jumping out and jumping back in my Cup car, building the team up here at 23XI. That’s my number one job. And to go out there and to win races, of course. This is gonna be a bridge that I cross going into the future. It’s just a matter of having options. I think options are a good thing.”