Kurt Busch has logged a whopping 17,628 laps* at Martinsville Speedway, but the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion is studying for next week’s race with the ferocity of a freshman cramming for his first semester final – a final the NASCAR Playoffs contender admits potentially could be just the beginning.
Busch will make his debut as a race analyst for FOX Sports in the October 27 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race at Martinsville (live on FS1 at 1:00 PM ET), calling the action alongside FOX’s Vince Welch and Phil Parsons, with Hermie Sadler, Kaitlyn Vincie and Michael Waltrip patrolling pit road. John Roberts hosts pre-race coverage on NASCAR RACEDAY-NCWTS (12:30 PM ET on FS1) alongside two-time series champ Todd Bodine and Jeff Hammond.
Currently seventh in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings, Busch views the afternoon as an opportunity to play a dual role as student and teacher.
“It’s my passion for motorsports -- I love educating people about it,” Busch, 40, said. “It’s definitely a transitional time in our sport right now with the way everybody gets their information and how they are educated. I’m happy for the opportunity FOX has given me to enlighten people about our sport. I feel the nerves of it. This is exciting for me to go into the booth and have the ability to teach people about Martinsville, the Trucks, the Playoffs.”
Busch dipped his toes into the broadcasting waters during the recent NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race at Talladega, serving as a turn announcer for Motor Racing Network (MRN). Now, he is ready for his television broadcasting baptism at the .526-oval.
“I am doing quite a bit of cramming before my test,” Busch explained. “It’s a new world of things I’m seeing that are very parallel to what I’ve done over the last 20 years, which is to provide the broadcast and our friends at FOX the chance to put the very best show on for our fans to enjoy. Being a racer, I like this new challenge and I’m going to have some fun with it.”
Busch, a two-time winner at Martinsville in the Cup Series, is approaching his newest assignment with the goal of relating to the viewers at home.
“You see someone like Jeff Gordon come walking up to you or any of the pit reporters, and they’re gathering intel on what are the hot spots that we (TV broadcasters) should talk about,” Busch explained. “What are the unique things we need to relate to fans?”
It is from the fans’ perspective that Busch plans to gauge his on-air performance.
“The biggest thing is to make sure the audience appreciates what you are trying to deliver,” Busch described. “You can’t force it. It has to be natural. And there’s also the self-satisfaction of knowing I was in sync with the other talent on-air and the producer who is in your ear. That’s one of the toughest parts that not many people know about. You’re watching the race, commentating, and delivering the live feed but you also have a producer squawking in your ear that, ‘Hey, you have to catch this over there’ or ‘We’re going to break in 10.’ You have a lot going on.”
Despite those challenges he has yet to face, Busch isn’t coy regarding his level of interest in earning a callback and possibly becoming a broadcaster once his racing career is complete.
“On a scale of one to 10, it’s a 10 for me because that’s what I do every day -- to wake up, challenge myself, to have fun with things but also to learn new things,” Busch said. “With racing and the contracts I’m looking at coming up, this is one of those where it’s just as much fun to put the seatbelts on tight and to go out there at 200 miles-per-hour as it would be to deliver the fans and audience something to listen to and learn more about our sport of NASCAR. It’s a high priority. I don’t know where it will all blend in as the next few months or few years all come together, but as far as the five-year-plan, I definitely see myself wearing more suits with ties than I do suits with logos.”
*Cup Series (17,383 laps) and Truck Series (245) cumulative race laps
Fox Sports PR