By admin | May 15, 2012
By Richard Allen
Kurt Busch’s career and the troubles in it have been well documented. A Sprint Cup championship in 2004 was followed by him being relieved of his duties at Roush Fenway Racing just one year later. Then, after a tension filled run with Penske Racing he again lost a ride when a tirade against an ESPN camera crew was made public.
This season, Busch has been toiling for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch. That one car team has been essentially unsponsored throughout most of the season. Currently, Busch ranks 25th in the Sprint Cup standings with only one top-10 finish.
When the Las Vegas native landed the ride in the #51 car he claimed this would be a season in which he would learn to relax and to just enjoy being a race car driver again. The last few weeks have indicated that such has not been the case, despite the Ricky Bobby references in Talladega.
This past Saturday night in Darlington, Busch’s frustration level went well over the boiling point. After a late race tire failure sent the driver for a spin, an expletive laced tirade ensued that, as the old saying goes, ‘Would make a sailor blush’.
And after the race ended, the situation around Busch only intensified. Crew members from Ryan Newman’s Stewart-Haas Racing team accused Busch of driving recklessly through their pit stall and went to confront the driver. A brief scuffle between crew members of both teams broke out before the two sides were separated.
On Tuesday, fines and probations were handed down by NASCAR to the involved parties, including a $50,000 penalty for Busch himself. ( http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1803 )
The real question here is bigger than simply who caused what and who said what. Instead, whether or not Kurt Busch can even continue in this sport seems to be the real concern here. Tirade after tirade, two lost rides and multiple run-ins with NASCAR and other teams are taking a serious toll on the driver’s career.
Underfunded Phoenix Racing took Busch on at the beginning of the 2012 season in hopes of building that team into a more potent organization with the presence of a championship driver. Instead, however, the team has brought home numerous wrecked race cars and been on the receiving end of the previously mentioned verbal lashings.
There is no doubt Busch is a talented driver. But who wants to deal with all that comes along with that talent? This driver has already burned a number of bridges along the way during his career and his recent actions are almost certainly not endearing him to any potential owners.
A few weeks ago a rumor was making the rounds that James Finch was considering ending the experiment with Busch and his season of reflection. A lack of sponsorship along with torn up race cars and verbal abuse have to be a drain on his budget and his patience.
Trouble is, if Busch loses this ride he may have no where else to go. Even the most talented of drivers aren’t very good without a car.
So, will Kurt Busch survive 2012? Right now, it doesn’t look good considering he can’t seem to control himself and there may not be a very long line of people out there who are looking to take on the job of controlling him.
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