By admin | October 5, 2012
By Richard Allen
One year ago at this time the Busch brothers were among the most controversial figures in NASCAR. Little did we know back then, but that level of controversy was about to reach new heights.
Just a few short weeks later, Kyle Busch would be “benched” for a weekend by NASCAR after he intentionally went after and crashed Ron Hornaday under caution during a Camping World Truck Series event at the Texas Motor Speedway. That incident led to the talented but often volatile driver being made to watch the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races from atop the Joe Gibbs Racing pit box rather than from the inside of a car.
Ultimately, the real damage came when the #18 car’s primary sponsor, Mars Candy, became so aggravated that they opted to remove their name from the JGR Toyota during the remaining late season races. Longtime Gibbs backer Interstate Batteries stepped up to claim those races dropped by M&M’s.
If reports are to be believed, there was at least the thought by the offended company of completely pulling their sponsorship of the younger Busch’s team at the end of the year.
And at the 2011 season finale, Kurt Busch was caught on video delivering a harsh tongue lashing to an ESPN pit reporter and cameraman in the garage area at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ultimately, the elder of the two brothers had to vacate his seat at Penske Racing and assume the driving chores with the much smaller and less well funded Phoenix Racing organization.
Kurt has since landed a ride with Furniture Row Racing which he will commence after this weekend in Talladega. Even though that team is supported by Richard Childress Racing, it is hardly at the level of Penske Racing.
This past Sunday in Dover, Kyle Busch led much of that Sprint Cup Series race only to lose out in the end when his Toyota was unable to make it to the end on fuel. Brad Keselowski, driving a Dodge, did complete the distance without having to make an extra pit stop which eventually allowed the Penske driver to claim the winner’s trophy. Needless to say, that did not sit well with Busch.
As he crossed the finish line to record a 7th place result in Dover, Busch screamed into his radio “Piece of sh*t motherf***ers! Thanks a lot TRD for f***ing up another one!”
TRD(Toyota Racing Development) is the racing arm of Toyota and the builders of engines used by Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, Busch felt as though his lacking fuel mileage was the result of their engineering deficiencies.
Kyle Busch has since apologized for those comments. However, earlier in the week, those at the top of TRD made it known that they were not happy about the situation and they considered the outburst to be a “slap in the face”.
I, for one, appreciate the fact that the Busch brothers are not so stale and predictable like many others in the sport. I also appreciate the numbers of web hits they provide. However, this is modern day NASCAR and one has to wonder how many times key sponsors and financial backers can be offended before the curtain drops on Kyle Busch’s time at JGR. Teams can’t operate without money so the ability to keep land and/or keep sponsors often trumps driving ability.
If you don’t think Kyle Busch can be removed from his team because he is so talented, ask yourself this- last year at this time did you foresee Kurt Busch being dumped by Penske and having to drive for what amounts to a single-car independent team?
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