Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2019

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Reaction to radio chatter depends on who’s chattering

When Kurt Busch uses some colorful language over the radio during a race it usually elicits a comment or two from the race broadcasters and a few mentions in the media. And fans aren’t too surprised since emotional blasts during the race aren’t out of character for the mercurial Busch.

But when Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus trade some pointed words on the radio it’s treated like a rift between a Hollywood couple. And coverage of that “rift” usually extends to the next race, where their radio chatter is monitored with extra vigor to detect even the slightest voice inflection.

Who is doing the arguing usually dictates the reaction of the people who are listening. As for Kurt Busch, we all know what to expect from him, so a few rants on the radio are no surprise. But when Johnson loses his cool, even if it’s mild and brief, everyone takes notice because it’s not what we’ve come to expect from him.

Truth is, these exchanges aren’t that unusual for any driver and crew chief combination. Sure some drivers complain more than others, but there are many extremely stressful situations in this sport that push people to become agitated. It’s to be expected. One of the broadcasters during Sunday’s race at Dover characterized it best by saying that the relationship between a driver and crew chief can be like a marriage. If that’s the case, then we can safely assume that there will always be hot tempers and bickering over the team radios for all eternity.

NASCAR will be making its way to Las Vegas again this year for the Championship Awards Banquet. And, as has been the case in previous years, there are a host of events that lead up to the night in which the new champion is crowned. One of those events is the 2011 NASCAR After the Lap event where fans can attend a “tell-all” discussion with the top 12 drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Tickets are $20 each and are on sale now at The event will be held at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the NASCAR Foundation.

The NASCAR StockcarToon has a new home. You can now see the weekly cartoon at

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