The Outlaw is gone, but Kurt Busch says the passion inside the car remains.
Busch said that his signature will appear above the door of his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet instead of his moniker “Outlaw,” beginning with this weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Busch made the comment Wednesday afternoon in a brief call with reporters that came a few hours after NASCAR announced it had reinstated Busch.
“My reputation will iron itself out in whichever way that it is,’’ Busch said. “My focus is the race car, and as I move forward, I’m putting my signature above the door of the car. I’m proud to have my signature on the side of a car that (owner) Gene Haas has and to carry his name into Victory Lane.’’
Busch said he will follow the advice NASCAR Chairman Brian France recently gave him.
“Talking with Brian France and going through this road, he told me, “Don’t change, don’t be the person that is different in the car, but be a different person outside of the car,’ ‘’ Busch said. “Brian said, ‘Go be yourself in that car. That’s what we really love. We love Kurt Busch behind the wheel. Go out there and use that passion and go for those wins.’ That’s my focus. To be humble through this whole process but let actions speak louder than words.’’
NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch two days before the Daytona 500. The decision came a few hours after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not’’ that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend in September.”
Busch said his attorneys are handing the pending appeal in that matter.
The Delaware Department of Justice declined to seek criminal charges against Busch. That expedited Busch’s reinstatement with NASCAR, allowing him to compete this weekend. NASCAR also waived a requirement for him that a driver had to compete in every event to be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Busch said he is appreciative to be back in the car after missing the first three races of the season.
“It means the world to me to be back in the car,’’ he said. “It’s been a tough situation the last few months, and I’ve gone through this with confidence knowing that I know the truth and that I never did any of the things that I was accused of. It was a complete fabrication.
“But it’s unfortunate that my personal life crossed over and affected my business life, but I can’t wait to get to the track, to see my team, to shake their hands and say thanks for the support, and to go out there and make my first lap this weekend.’’