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So what did Kurt Busch actually do for Phoenix Racing?

By admin | September 27, 2012

By Richard Allen

With the recent news that Kurt Busch has signed on to drive for Furniture Row Racing in 2013, it would seem like the appropriate time to look back and see what he accomplished while driving for Phoenix Racing in 2012. Prior to this season, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion had only piloted cars for the highly financed teams of Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing. However, due to a number of issues to have surfaced last season, the talented but volatile driver found himself with few options coming into this current year.

When the dust settled in the aftermath of a video taped tirade toward an ESPN reporter and cameraman during the last race of the season in 2011, Phoenix Racing was one of the few teams that would take on Busch as its chauffer. It was said by some, including the primary parties involved, that the relationship would prove beneficial for both.

Busch, it was reasoned, would be more relaxed as he took a step away from the high-pressure world of the power teams for a season or two while Phoenix would have a high profile driver who could show what their relatively small operation was truly capable of.

So, what did Kurt Busch actually do for the James Finch owned Phoenix Racing team?

As a few thought might at least be plausible, Busch could give Phoenix a shot at winning a race. Although taking on the mega-teams would have been virtually impossible on a weekly basis, a one time checkered flag seemed a possibility on a restrictor plate track or a road course, especially considering the team received some assistance from Hendrick Motorsports. But that was not the case as the team that had won at Talladega back in 2009 with Brad Keselowski has gone winless so far in 2012.

Even if no wins came, it was believed by many that Busch could elevate the team to higher overall finishes than previously experienced. So far in 27 starts, Busch has an average finish of 24.6 with one top-5 and two top-10 results.

In 2011, driver Landon Cassill had an average finish of 27.6 with no top-10s while driving for Phoenix Racing. Boris Said, Bill Elliott and Mike Bliss also competed for the team with no outstanding finishes being recorded by any one of those pilots.

And more, Busch has crashed on multiple occasions in 2012. Of the five races in which the #51 car was not running at the finish, three of those have ‘crashed’ listed as the reason for dropping out. There were also cars wrecked in Daytona and other tracks which were repaired and sent back out to finish multiple laps behind the race winners.

The not-so-relaxed Busch was suspended for one race this season after a post-race incident on pit road in Charlotte and a tirade directed toward a reporter the next week in Dover.

And perhaps most importantly for a small team such as this, no lasting sponsorship was found as a result of having a high profile driver in their car. As a matter of fact, there have been very few races this season in which the car had anything other than the Phoenix team name or completely blank quarter panels.

Purse money winnings have seen little change over last year with Busch driving(David Reutimann drove the one race in which Busch was suspended) opposed to the four who handled the chores in 2011.

All in all, the addition of Kurt Busch as the driver of the #51 Phoenix Racing car was a gamble that was probably worth taking. However, in the end the gamble did not really pay off. After Busch is gone this will be a team that is no better off than when he came, and perhaps even worse off if more money was spent in an attempt to raise the level of competitiveness.

So what did Kurt Busch actually do for Phoenix Racing? Ultimately, not that much.

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “So what did Kurt Busch actually do for Phoenix Racing?”

  1. midasmicah Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    He wrecked a lot of their cars.

  2. Tony Geinzer Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    What I feel is Kurt Busch is a serious and unmanagable issue for Stock Cars.

  3. Offkilter Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    He helped the economy by creating job security for the 51 team sheet metal guys and a full time trucking job was created by hauling retired hms cars over to phoenix racing. Oh, and he reestablished to the world that he is still an a-hole.

  4. kb2004 Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    You seem to have conveniently left out the 3rd place finish at Infineon. Also, this team has cost themselves plenty of times with bad pit stops and odd mechanical malfunctions. Seriously, how the hell does a tire just fall off?

    Point is, Kurt can’t be blamed for poor performance by a lackluster team.

  5. Russ Says:
    September 27th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    He accomplished exactly what could be expected. Generated a little buzz in the beginning that couldnt be sustained.
    In an era when engineering is more important than drivers, and sponsors more important than either, he probably drove the car as fast as it would go. What more could he do?
    He didn’t save Phoenix, and he won’t make Furniture Row a winner. But nobody could.

  6. Ricky Bobby Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Really, don’t recall any “post race incident on pit road at Charlotte”………..may have been one at Dover.
    He couldn’t have destroyed too many cars. They seem to have race each of them 3 or 4 times each this year!

  7. zhills fan Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Actually I partly agree with kb. I think some of the reasons that KB wrecked so much was the fact that the cars were far inferior to what he had before so he pushed them beyond their capabilities.

  8. Al Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 4:09 am

    The team did receive more attention from the media then they normally would have. Practically every team is having sponsor issues but only Kurt doesn’t get a pass because of the economy. Not all of the wrecks were his fault. I think some of his wrecks he did cause had more to do with him over driving the car in an attempt to make up for lackluster team he was with.

    Couldn’t this same article have been written about a certain lady in the Nationwide series? After 51 races it’s time to back off on the “she’s still learning” excuse. After all she did have racing experience before she made the switch and she does have a big time sponsor in Hendricks equipment.

  9. Jeff Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I think the real question is why Richard Childress would have an interest in Kurt Busch? maybe that hair dye has gotten to RC’s brain but haveing Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick as teamates is not a very good idea at all.

    If Kurt was such a good prospect sponsors would be in a rush to have there name associated with his. But that is not the case. The name Kurt Busch is toxic and I doubt he will ever recover from his reputation of radio tirades, mean spirited interviews and wrecking cars.

    Kurt will never have a top ride and it is only a matter of time before his brother is in the same boat with him.

  10. Buhlmann Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Great point! He did slightly better than Landon Cassill which really doesn’t look too good for him. Landon Cassill was a 21 year old rookie and Kurt a champion. The only thing Kurt did was get them a top 5 and two top 10’s. Although Landon probably would have had a top 10 at least, maybe a top 5 at Talladega when he qualified 6th, ran in the top 5 until getting wrecked by…Kurt Busch.

  11. GinaV24 Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Is it a trick question? It seems as if he wrecked a lot of race cars and in general acted like a jerk the way he always does.

  12. Rob Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Kurt Busch is being groomed for a ride at RCR in 2014 or maybe 2015. Richard Childress has said that he will personally be mentoring Kurt this year to help him through the rough spots. I think the main goal for 2103 is to rehabilitate Kurt’s image to be able to attract a sponsor later. This will be good for both RCR and Kurt if it works out. If not, then RCR did not have that much invested.

  13. DMan Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 11:33 am

    heres a scenerio: kurt goes to FR, which is a childress satellite team, for 2013. jeff burton, in the childress 31 car, his contract expires at the end 2013. kurt replaces burton for the 2014 season since burtons record for 2012 is roughly on par with smiths or buschs who are driving for under-equipped and underfunded teams. love burton but the man just cant get it done anymore in top notch stuff. that is as long as busch doesnt bankrupt FR before the end of 2013.

  14. Matt Kennedy Says:
    September 28th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Kurt Busch gave them the opportunity to become a better race team. The reason cars were crashed was because Kurt was driving the cars to his greatest abilities but the cars were not able to match that. The team had the chance to get rid of Kurt if they felt like he wasn’t contributing, but he knew what he was doing on the car and was able to improve them where other drivers in that ride were not. The idea that Kurt gets in cars just to total them is utterly absurd. Kurt was high up in number of completed laps in the season, and most of the incidents were due to part failure. Phoenix has even said that they would love to rehire Kurt if there was sponsorship, so clearly Kurt was contributing something that could not be seen based on average finish! CASE AND POINT!

  15. John Knepper Says:
    September 29th, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Let me see. Finch is $1,000,000 million richer than he was at this point last year with Cassill. Pit crew told me at a race that Kurt knows more about car set ups than most crew chiefs, Nick (crew chief) has learned stuff about set ups he never knew, they’ve been racing all year with Gordons/Juniors/Johnson cars from 2008, Kurt helped them work on the cars, he pays for their lunch/dinners when in town, he has wounded warriors stay with him at his NC home during Charlotte, Bristol and Martinsville weekends, he’s very involved in the Armed forces Foundation, they’ve only had to trash one of the (7) cars that were wrecked, most of the wrecked cars were because of mechanical failure/other people wrecks and he is the best driver they have had at Phoenix.

    Know I now why you will never win a Pulitzer. Like most “journalists” you don’t do your research

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