By: Jeff Wackerlin – @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on September 11, 2017 | 3:00 P.M. EST
Motor Racing Network was able to talk Cubs baseball with Kurt Busch at Wrigley Field. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CHICAGO – Kurt Busch, who is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, recently attended a game at Wrigley Field where the Motor Racing Network was able to talk Cubs baseball with him on the field prior to the game. Busch is one of the 16 drivers that will be running for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in the playoffs, which kicks off this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.
MRN: You grew up in Las Vegas, so how did you become a Chicago Cubs fan?
Busch: It might be a long story, but I’m going to go the short story. My family is from Chicago – Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows and Arlington Heights. Every day as a kid in Vegas when I would come home from school – both my parents worked – the TV would always be soap operas, soap operas and Cubs. The Cubs were on WGN so I’m a WGN baby.
MRN: Who were some of your favorite Cubs Players when you were a kid?
Busch: Right away…Ryne Sandberg as my favorite guy. He was always out a second base and he had a big streak forever of innings that he didn’t give up an error. I just loved his tenacity out on the field. He was great team leader. Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston, Andre Dawson – that whole gang in the 80s and early 90s. And then Greg Maddux, I still believe he’s a Cub, not an Atlanta Brave.
MRN: Which current Cubs player do you follow?
Busch: Kris Bryant. He’s got the same initials as myself…really good initials and he’s from my same hometown, Las Vegas. He’s doing pretty good.
MRN: Where were you when the Cubs won the World Series?
Busch: What’s crazy is I was at home in my house in North Carolina getting this ring (shows wedding band) because the guy from Tiffanys came and delivered them at the house and then my wife surprised me (for his birthday this past August) with this ring (shows Cubs World Series champions ring). So I’m doing OK with the rings because then there’s the Daytona 500 ring.
MRN: Did you attend any World Series parties last year?
Busch: I ended up at a Game 5 party after they won Game 5. None of the players but a few different Cubs management were there along with Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder and we were all carrying on like 12 year old kids because the Cubs had won a World Series game at Wrigley.
MRN: Do you remember your first Cubs game at Wrigley Field?
Busch: My first Cubs game I sat in the left field bleachers. It was against the Milwaukee brewers. The Cubs were down by six runs going into the ninth and my buddy was like, ‘hey man do you want to leave?’ and I said no, we’re staying. He’ll tell the story the opposite way where I wanted to leave so that we can go out and take in Wrigleyville and absorb the whole atmosphere. We stayed and the Cubs scored six runs and tied it up and then they won it in extra innings. That to me paid me back for being a Cub fan that I am for all those years.
MRN: Was participating in Spring Training earlier this year the thrill of a lifetime?
Busch: Spring training was fun. I got to bring the Harley J. Earl Trophy to spring training. Winning Daytona was special and the Cubs winning the World Series was special. Coach (Joe) Maddon let me dress out as a Cub for the day. I did all the pre-game exercises. I took batting practice with (Kyle) Schwarber and shagged some ball in the outfield. It was really a fun day as a Cub.