Kurt Busch's boost made Dodge proud

March, 17, 2009

Thanking sponsors is part of the drill when drivers get out of the car after a victory. It's rote, an almost robotic response that no one pays much attention to most of the time.

Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge Motorsports, didn't see it that way when Kurt Busch had a one-sentence plug for the auto manufacturer after winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta.

Busch got out of the No. 2 Dodge, smiled in Victory Lane and said: "If that doesn't inspire you to buy a Dodge Charger, I don't know what will."

Accavitti was overwhelmed when he heard Busch's words.

"For him to make an endorsement like that is everything," Accavitti said Tuesday. "During these times when people are not in a hurry to go out and buy a car, they're not really paying attention to the commercials. To get an endorsement like that on national TV from one of our drivers was everything."

These are dangerous days for auto manufacturers. No one knows for sure if Chrysler (Dodge's parent company) will survive. GM also is on the edge of the cliff and Ford's situation isn't much better.

So Accavitti felt Busch showed a sincere feeling of support after his victory.

"A race win during ordinary times is important for a manufacturer," Accavitti said. "However, in times that we're faced with right now, it's extremely important.

"Kurt got out of that car after a very challenging race and demonstrated the level of professionalism that he exudes. He realizes the situation and he did his part. I told Kurt and [team owner] Roger [Penske] it was the best product endorsement I've ever heard any driver give for anything."

Accavitti believes it was more than most drivers would do.

"A lot of guys might feel differently," Accavitti said. "They might say, 'Hey, what can I do? The industry is collapsing, but what can I do about it?'

"But here's a guy that's saying I'm going to do something about it. Kurt thought about it and did it on his own. I have the utmost respect for him."

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter



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