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« Even after a turnaround season, Junior needs to be more productive in 2012 | Main | Sponsors exerting greater influence over NASCAR drivers and teams in weak economy »

JGR right to ask Kyle Busch to step out of his truck, but will he do it?

By admin | December 28, 2011

By Richard Allen

 

On Tuesday afternoon Dave Moody of SiriusXMNASCAR reported that Joe Gibbs racing has asked that their Sprint Cup driver, Kyle Busch, to refrain from racing in the Camping World Truck Series in 2012. This request by JGR comes on the heels of their driver having been parked for one Cup race near the end of the season by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday in a truck race at the Texas Motor Speedway.

As a result of that incident, Gibbs’ primary sponsor, M&Ms, removed itself from their car for the remainder of the 2011 season. If insider reports are to be believed, the candy maker came very close to leaving the team all together but was eventually convinced to return to the #18 Toyota in 2012.

There is precedent for a sponsor to punish the driver they support. Home Depot once fined Tony Stewart after that driver was involved in an incident with a photographer.

But one rub in this particular situation is that Busch drives for his own Kyle Busch Motorsports team on the truck series, not JGR.

From the perspective of JGR, how could they do anything else except discourage Busch from competing in the truck series? It’s an incredible risk for them to take a chance that they might lose their main financial backer as a result of something that could happen in a lower division race in a car they do not even own.

According to the story posted on the SiriusXMNASCAR website, KBM general manager Rick Ren emphasizes the word “requested” when discussing the move by JGR. He also states that the topic has been much discussed in his team’s shop. He called it “a high probability” that his boss will not race in the truck series this coming season.

There is no doubt that Kyle Busch is one of the most talented drivers in the NASCAR garage. However, he is also one of the most volatile. And every time he takes to the track there is a chance of something happening that could endanger his standing in the sport(remember the incident with Richard Childress). Joe Gibbs Racing is doing the prudent thing by requesting that he stay out of the truck series for a while. The risk of embarrassing a sponsor that is likely putting up as much as $15-20 million per year to the point that they leave the sport is not worth taking.

In order to appease that sponsor in a time when sponsors are leaving the sport, the loss of such a significant backer would not be easily overcome. Gibbs is taking the proper action from their point of view in this situation. They have no choice but to look after their own interests.

But at the same time, KBM has responsibilities as well. There are sponsors and employees in that shop who depend on Kyle Busch driving for them. Perhaps Kurt Busch and/or other drivers will be brought in to keep the team going. Or, having seen evidence of his rebellious personality, there is always the chance Kyle Busch decides to just ignore his Sprint Cup team’s request and race the truck himself. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the season.

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18 Responses to “JGR right to ask Kyle Busch to step out of his truck, but will he do it?”

  1. Russ Says:
    December 28th, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Of course JGR is correct in protecting its interest, and if that means Kyle restrict his activities so be it.
    As to KBR you would think that it is part of Busch’s retirement plan. To be built up over a period of time to emulate RCR. So if he can find a way to accomodate both needs why not?

  2. Keith_KaGee Says:
    December 28th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Wayne Auton (sp?) must not be sleeping much at night. His series is riding literally on thin ice. Only 27 teams classified as “fulltime”. Short two races due to lack of track, sponsor interest. Turning into a one manufacturer (Chevy) series. Now possibly lose one of the major drawing cards in an already poorly attended series.

    Call it Karma or Irony whatever suits you, serves NASCAR right if Kyle withdraws. They over-reacted based on the torch and pitchfork crowd. Just like the kids who posted the viral video of Kurt, be careful what you ask for. I hate to see the trucks go away, but it could happen and the action against Kyle could be the mechanism that starts the process.

  3. Russ Says:
    December 28th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    To piggyback what Keith said, If you remember Toyota got into Nascar not to sell Camries but Tundra’s. It was there that they were allowed to run an engine design (Dodge?) that they didn’t produce anywhere in the world.

    Now this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak. Neither CWTS or Nationwide are sustainable just off the attendance. So where do these series go in the future?

  4. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    December 28th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I feel that with or without Kyle, the Trucks may have to go Regional and I find nothing amusing with the Rowdy-JD Cold War that is starting to chill out and anger a lot of fans, old and new in my sport. Rich, I would encourage you to go find new tracks, Paved and Dirt Short Ovals in My NASCAR, and not just copycatters.

  5. Russ Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I dont think the trucks or Nationwide could be transitioned to a regional series. If they cant make it where they are they will have to go away.
    The only economic support they have now is TV. They wont have that at the regional level.
    So I think that the fat lady is probably rehersing as we speak.

  6. Sue Rarick Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    As far as I know KBM is not a JGR or M&M company but is owned by Kyle. If they don’t want him to race the trucks they had better be prepared to not only compensate Kyle but also Dollar General and KBM’s other sponsors.
    Dollar General is on those JGR cup cars primarily because of Kyle. Is JGR willing to lose them to please M&M? Is JGR willing to run a unsponsored #20 in cup or their Nationwide cars?
    Not only JGR but M&M may be opening themselves up for some very expensive lawsuits. And we all know that once the lawyers step in it gets real ugly real fast (M&M has a few skeletons in their closet).
    This could be fun to watch.

  7. Ken Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Am I missing something here that others are seeing? I have read comment after comment complaining about Cup drivers running in the lower series’, and now that The Coach and M&M’s have “requested” for Mr. Busch to refrain from competing in the Truck and Nationwide Series’, and concentrate on running the Cup Series, everyone is suddenly complaining and saying that both series’ need Mr. Busch to survive?

    I think these guys, Kyle, Harvick, Edwards, and the rest that run the lower series’ are what has ruined those two series’. While the Truck Series seems to have become a combination of up-and-comers getting started and seniors who can still drive (like Hornaday) and like the shorter schedule, the Nationwide Series was supposed to be the stepping stone on the way to Cup. It’s not that way anymore. The Cup guys are stealing the money/glory! Come on! I think it’s about time this happened. If you are in Cup, stay out of the Trucks and Nationwide.

    Now, I’m not a Kyle fan. In fact, I can’t stand the punk. He might have talent, but his attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Truth be known, I’m an Edwards fan. Saying that, I’ve always felt like running both Cup and Nationwide full time has seriously hampered Edwards’ Cup results. Bet if he had backed away from Nationwide this year, Tony Stewart would not have been Champion. So, who knows? Maybe with Gibbs yanking Kyle out of the lower series’, he just might not have his usual melt down when the chase rolls around and he might actually be contending for the title come Homestead.

  8. lee Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    iwill watching more Truck and Nationwide races since Kyle is not running in them.
    JGR has all the right to tell his driver not to run in the Truck series. I always tought CUP was suppsose to be the #1 focus

  9. Tom Murphy Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    If people really think that the Truck and Nationwide series are only “stepping stones” or “driver development” series - then what is your response to people like Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday in the Truck series, and Kenny Wallace, Morgan Sheppard, and Jason Leffler in the Nationwide series - who have spent year and year after year in those series? No development going on there - no stepping stones.

    Both of these are National Series - and are open to ANYONE and EVERYONE with the money/sponsorship to run in them.

    You can’t have those running in them forever - and ban those who have moved up both.

    If they are truly development series - then it should be limited to X number of years - then either up or out.

  10. ed Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I THINK KYLE SHOULD DRIVE WHAT HE WANTS. IF JGR DOESN;T LIKE IT FIRE HIM. AND HE;LL BE HIRED BY SOME OTHER TEAM THE NEXT DAY . HE DOES BETTER WHEN HE.S DRIVING. NO MORE M&MS FOR ME

  11. Chris Fiegler Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I think that we will see somebody else in the #18 Toyota Tundra But I don’t know who will the driver be other than Kyle Busch.

  12. Marybeth Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    There is Dale Jr. firesuit for sale on the Dan Wheldon Auction site & will be for another 4 days. It is up to a little over $2,000.

  13. djones Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    @ Ken, Great post. I’ll just say ditto.

  14. Tony Says:
    December 29th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    The trucks and busch series was doing just fine until all the greedy egomaniac cup drivers decided it was alot of fun to go beat up on the little guys because they couldn’t beat Jimmie Johnson in the cup series. Yep all you bums that say they need kyle in both series are casual fans who just started following na$car the last few years. The races stink now because these arrogant jerks and they have run all the smaller teams the hell out of the series. Nice job kyle, carl, kevin, clint thanks for ruining a good series just to boost your stinking egos

  15. Steve Says:
    December 30th, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Ungrateful would define M&M’s / Mars Candy Co. They received more “on-screen” on national TV than the next 3 or 4 on the list combined. An they chose Mr. Bush because of his demographic position. His fans like his take no prisoners attitude. As for me ( I’m 64 ), he reminds me of A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones; now those were men with big attitudes ( read as NOT politically correct, but true to themselves ). Don’t let the media and pc politics ruin Rowdy!

  16. Russ Says:
    December 30th, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    It wasn’t the Cup drivers that ruined Nationwide. It was the Cup teams owners who saw an opportunity to make money by cherry-picking that series. The drivers could have been anybody. But of course the promoters would rather have the Cup drivers.

  17. norm Says:
    December 30th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Mr. Gibbs is well within his rights to request KB refrain from playing in the minors. He’s paying him boatloads of money to be a Cup driver and any employer should expect an employee to give 100% for those boatloads. It’s not uncommon for owners (all types of racing) to restrict their drivers extra curricular activities since an injury in some other series (or just plain stupidity) can impact sponsorsip agreements. And we all know money makes NA$CAR go round (and round). Will he bolt for another team just so he can drive a truck? Not likely. How many good rides are left? Would some team dump an existing driver with sponsorship for a talent with a bad attitiude and no sponsor (M&M’s would likely stay with Gibbs). KB would be best served to shut up and drive and focus on being a Cup champion. We all know he’s got the talent, he just needs to develop the mental toughness (AJ, Cale, King) needed to get there.
    Just my thoughts though. Cheers

  18. Offkilter Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Yes. Joe is the owner, Shrub is the employee. Cup racing has been the gateway, monetarily for shrub’s upstart in ownership in the supporting series. Why endanger that big river of green from the cup series? Oh wait, nevermind. I forgot for a moment that kb is incapable of rationalizing situations. Proceed with your meltdowns, shrub, so that the vast majority of folks that watch on sunday may experience what a busch brother contemptuous smirk feels like when we see you racing your brother for posistion for the lucky dog in your 2 nd tier equipment.