Columns & Blogs

When worlds collide: NASCAR, trained assassins

There’s nothing amusing about domestic violence. If NASCAR star Kurt Busch knocked around Patricia Driscoll, his girlfriend at the time, he should be punished by the law, his sport and his employer.

Again, there’s nothing amusing about that piece of the Busch-Driscoll story. The only piece that’s amusing is everything else.

Let’s review.

Busch contends that his 5-foot former girlfriend is a trained assassin.

Driscoll denies it, says Busch must have been influenced by a fictional script she has long been writing.

(Busch’s contention came this week during a hearing for a no-contact order filed by Driscoll against Busch. Last fall, Driscoll accused Busch of domestic assault at his motor home at Dover International Speedway. No charges have been filed against Busch, who has denied the allegations.)

Driscoll acknowledges that she has worked in intelligence and narcotics and numerous other roles that might or might not require a trench coat.

When Driscoll was younger, one of those roles was ballet. She is a trained ballerina.

POLICE OFFICER: “What did the trained assassin look like, sir?”

POTENTIAL VICTIM WHO NARROWLY ESCAPES AN ATTACK BY A TRAINED ASSASSIN: “Well, officer, I didn’t get a good look at her face. But she was wearing a tutu. The next time I go to the ballet I’ll shudder.”

POLICE OFFICER: “Many of us feel that way, sir. Perhaps ‘The Nutcracker’ is more than a two-act ballet.

Busch claims that, had he and Driscoll fought, she would have won. Twenty years ago no driver would have claimed what Busch did. Even now no other driver would acknowledge such a thing with the possible exception of Michael Waltrip.

I’ve never met Driscoll. I have no idea how she makes her living.

Busch says that one night in El Paso, Texas, Driscoll left wearing camouflage. When she returned she was wearing a trench coat. Beneath it she wore a gown covered in blood and stuff.

People read stories like this and say, “You can’t make that up.”

But we can make up what comes next. What does come next? Where does it go? How about Daytona Beach, Fla., for NASCAR’s season-opening Sprint Unlimited?

Or does the story wait until Feb. 19 and the appropriately named Budweiser Duels?

If so, the story offers a coming together of two organizations with a lot in common.

I don’t want to demean trained assassins, but I think it’s fair to say that the profession has outlaw roots.

So does NASCAR. Some of the best driving ever turned in was by artists such as Junior Johnson, who went rumbling down twisting mountain roads in altered automobiles with high-performing engines and a car full of moonshine.

Another quality the professions share is that they’re covert. Do we know what goes on in NASCAR? You think mysteries lurk behind the gleaming glass at NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters as well as beneath the hoods of its automobiles?

You think trained assassins have secrets? How, for example, do trained assassins find work? Do they hand out resumes to prospective clients? Do they create slick-looking websites? Do trained assassins like slick-looking websites? Is there enough work to go around? If not, pity the untrained assassin.

Or do you think trained assassins are more subtle? I’ve spent time in bars that cater to lawyers and I’ve spent time in bars that cater to newspaper editors and writers. Do potential clients visit bars that attract trained assassins?

Or are trained assassins more likely to hang out at the (ballet) barre?

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