By admin | January 15, 2013
By Richard Allen
According to a report from USA Today, Kyle Busch has signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing that will keep the talented driver with that organization for the next several seasons. His tenure with the team had been set to expire at the end of the 2013 season without a new deal. With this move, the biggest potentially available free agent in NASCAR this year has been taken off the market.
During an interview with Speed TV’s Bob Dilner during the ‘Pre-Season Thunder’ test session in Daytona, Busch was somewhat coy about his contract status. He commented that there could be an announcement soon and that details are still being worked out. “Maybe I’ll stay or maybe I’ll go,” he said with a smirk.
If indeed this story proves to be true, and it likely will, it should prove to serve both parties well.
Getting the contract extension settled sooner rather than later will prevent all the inevitable conjecture that comes along every time a top driver approaches free agent status. No matter what the principles involved may say, speculation regarding a driver’s status with his team has to be a distraction. Anytime distractions can be eliminated, all involved are well served.
Further, after a somewhat lackluster season in 2012 that resulted in missing the Chase playoff, Busch and his JGR team need their focus to be entirely on improving their performance and returning to the status of championship contenders. Spending a year constantly having to think about whether or not the driver will remain beyond 2013 would not serve the purpose of accomplishing what ought to be this team’s number one goal.
Along with the elimination of distraction because of the need to focus on improving the team, getting the contract situation taken care of will serve to prevent what could have been another potential issue for JGR. With Busch’s often volatile nature, questions from the media about his future status with the team would have no doubt caused an explosion at some point during the upcoming season. Anytime an issue can be removed that will keep their driver from “going off”, it’s all the better for the No. 18 team.
And for Busch himself, he is trying to run Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series as well as drive the JGR Toyotas on the Sprint Cup circuit. There are enough distractions already. Carrying such a big issue as a contract renewal into the season would not have benefited him in any way regarding his own team. NASCAR history is filled with examples of how this type of thing hurts both organizations and all other parties involved.
For as long as Busch went unsigned and still owned his own team, there would always be the rumor that he was planning to take KBM to the Cup level. So the extension goes ahead and squashes that notion immediately.
And lastly, the settling of a contract between Busch and JGR “sooner rather than later” (as J.D. Gibbs was quoted as saying when asked) was a virtual necessity due to the simple fact that there is really no other place for this driver to go. The only other organization in NASCAR that would truly be an upgrade over JGR would be Hendrick Motorsports and that bridge was burned a long time ago.
Yes, it was best for all involved to get Kyle Busch’s contract taken care of now.
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