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Can Kurt Busch rescue his image by driving for an underdog team?

By admin | January 13, 2012

By Richard Allen


Kurt Busch has never exactly been a fan favorite or had a good image in the sport of NASCAR racing. And at the end of last season when he was caught on video delivering a profanity laced tirade to an ESPN camera crew, his image went from bad to worse. That tirade, along with other verbal lashings of his crew, caused him to separate from his former team at Penske Racing.

Since then, Busch has signed on to drive for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch. That one car team is a far cry from Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing, the two mega-teams he has driven for over the course of his Sprint Cup career. And even with the 2004 Sprint Cup champion driving for them, the team is still very much an underdog at most tracks where they will race.

But unlike in his previous situations, Busch is at least putting on the façade that he is more relaxed and less combative going into 2012. It seems pretty clear that Busch is working hard at improving his ‘bad boy’ image this year so that he can re-emerge next year in a better situation.

“2012 is going to be a unique year,” Busch said in a Friday press conference in Daytona. “This is what I need, and all along we are going to keep our eye on the prize- 2013.”

While Phoenix Racing is one of the organizations supported by massive Hendrick Motorsports, it is still very much a David going up against a field full of Goliaths. And since everyone tends to root for the underdog, can Busch rescue his image by lending his considerable talents to a smaller team?

Busch contends that he is having fun and that he will use this season as therapy to get himself into a better frame of mind. “It’s not going to take winning to make me happy,” the driver known for being ultra-competitive said. “We might not exceed our expectations. We might not live up to them, but we’re going to have a darn good time while we’re doing it.”

If Kurt Busch can succeed and help a smaller team in a world of monster organizations run up front, can he repair a shattered image? And perhaps more importantly, can he set himself up to return to one of the sport’s championship teams in 2013?

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Topics: Articles |

4 Responses to “Can Kurt Busch rescue his image by driving for an underdog team?”

  1. offkilter Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    He will be a non issue next year unless he’s wrecking the cars on the lead lap. Other than that, only a thimble full of folks will really care how he’s doing in therapy.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I am far from a Kurt fan (actually I can’t stand him) but I am rooting for him and his team this year. Just maybe if they and another small team such as Baldwin do well they can break this 20 million a year mind set. There really is no reason a small team can’t make the chase with a budget of 8 to 10 million. If you break down team budgets per person. Phoenix would need a budget of 3 million to match Hendrick’s on a per person basis (And that’s assuming 20 million per car for Hendricks). That leaves an extra 5 or more million Phoenix can put into their cars.

    A small team is only underfunded in perspective. They can also be a mean lean fighting machine and be able to react much faster than the large teams……………But time will tell.

  3. Chris Fiegler Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    What will be the Nationwide Series Races will Kurt Busch Race in with Phoenix Racing?

  4. Jim Says:
    January 15th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    It will only be a matter of time before Kurt’s first meltdown, and the real Kurt Busch will be showing his true colors once again.

    You can move the gorilla from one cage to another, but you can’t take the gorilla out of the gorilla.