DiZinno: INDYCAR taking right step with Kurt Busch statement


Last year, Kurt Busch was one of the stories of the racing season, for on-track purposes first before all the details of the alleged domestic abuse between he and ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll began to emerge.

Busch’s participation in last year’s Indianapolis 500 came following a yearlong buildup, from his first test in May 2013 that planted the seed for a potential double in 2014.

It shifted from a case of “Will he, won’t he,” to “How can they make it happen without it being another ‘build me up, buttercup just to let me down?'” type of deal.

All partners worked together to make it happen. Chevrolet and Honda. Stewart-Haas Racing and Andretti Autosport. NASCAR and INDYCAR.

Busch was one of the stars of the month of May, 2014, and justifiably earned Indianapolis 500 Rookie-of-the-Year honors with a sixth place finish.

Last year, it was definitely a case of “timing was everything” to make a double happen.

Because for now, the timing is right to say no to Busch racing in the series again.

INDYCAR released its own statement Saturday that says Busch hasn’t applied for membership and doesn’t expect him to.

It doesn’t outright, explicitly say “No, we’re not having him,” but the wording is strong enough within the release that due to the sanctioning body taking all charges of domestic abuse seriously, a return wouldn’t be welcomed.

By end of day Saturday, Busch had gone through two unsuccessful appeal attempts. His NASCAR career is now in question, and Chevrolet had also suspended its relationship with the 2004 Sprint Cup champion.

“Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary,” a Chevrolet statement read.

While it might be good to have Busch back in the Indianapolis 500 from a competitive standpoint – his talent has never been on trial – it wouldn’t be good to have him back from a PR standpoint.

Firstly, Busch was a story last year because his was the first “double” attempt in a decade, since Robby Gordon’s last go was interrupted by rain in 2004. It had been a regular occurrence for the previous decade from 1994 through 2004, with John Andretti, Davy Jones and Tony Stewart also making runs at it.

This year, in the 2015 edition of the race, “the double” would not be the story it was a year ago.

The story at Indianapolis this year is expected to center on the debut of the speedway specification aero kits first, more than any outside one-off entries expected to compete (with no disrespect to them, neither Bryan Clauson nor Jay Howard is going to generate as much interest on a national level scale as Busch did).

Secondly, in the year that has occurred since Busch confirmed his double appearance, the public opinion view on domestic abuse has changed – and changed rapidly. The Ray Rice story during 2014 shocked the nation, thanks in large part to the two videos that emerged with it.

The mere allegation of domestic abuse now justifiably raises red flags and concerns – even though domestic abuse should have been a greater issue before before Rice’s case put it into the public arena on a wider scale.

For Busch, having that allegation tacked onto him is just the latest string of concerning stories that have peppered and interrupted his career.

Busch’s self-inflicted meltdowns, whether it was his alleged DUI stop in Arizona in 2005, or his verbal spats with reporters Dr. Jerry Punch (2011) or Bob Pockrass (2012) didn’t inflict any physical harm. A domestic abuse allegation adds that concerning element to an already checkered past.

Thirdly, INDYCAR doesn’t need another PR hit. The lengthy offseason has gotten enough blowback in social media as it is, and that was before the back-to-back double dip of Brian Barnhart being confirmed again as Race Director and the Brasilia season opener being canceled in successive days.

Sure, you can argue, INDYCAR would be making a place for Busch’s talent to shine if it were to allow him to compete. But to some, Busch’s acceptance could be perceived as INDYCAR being accepting or open of drivers alleged to have committed domestic abuse.

INDYCAR’s statement shuts that down on the spot, with this line: “We will act firmly and strongly in responding to all matters of domestic violence.”

Important to note, but Busch has not been charged with any crime in the alleged incident. Driscoll has her own doubters, and there are those that find her story throughout the testimony pegged high on the questionable meter.

Regardless, adding Busch to the INDYCAR field is a headache or controversy the series doesn’t need to take right now.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”