On Monday, Penske Racing said enough of Kurt Busch and his immature ways, and the two parties mutually agreed to part ways. It is not enough to be one of the best at what you do, but if you don’t care enough about your career to act like a professional then you don’t deserve to have the said career.
With the separation, the former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion has put himself into a precarious position.
December is definitely not the time to be looking for a new ride with Daytona SpeedWeeks just around the corner. In a video released on Kurt Busch’s website on Monday, he said “Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took time to reflect on what is most important to me and realized I need to find a way to put the fun back into race. It’s time for a fresh start.”
What will happen to Kurt Busch and where does he go for that said “fresh start”?
Richard Childress Racing eliminated a Cup team because of sponsorship. Aside from sponsorship issues at Roush-Fenway Racing, Busch was fired from the team for the final two races of the 2005 season and team president Geoff Smith declared “We’re officially retiring as Kurt Busch’s apologists.”
Joe Gibbs Racing already has their hands with Kyle Busch, the younger Busch brother. Adding two could bring bigger challenges than Joe and JD Gibbs want to handle. Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing have room in their stables, but will not put an unsponsored car on the track.
JTG Daughtery Racing has several sponsors for its one car team, but I doubt they’ll take a chance with a driver who made a very publicized exit from another team. Stewart-Haas Racing comes to mind? Busch would need a sponsor and he just doesn’t seem like he’d fit in with Stewart and Newman, who act more like brothers than owner/driver. Next is Richard Petty Motorsports. RPM does”t even know if Best Buy is coming back on the hood of AJ Allmendinger’s car in 2012. If Best Buy was to not come back, there is no speculation as to who would sponsor the No. 43.
Phoenix Racing and James Finch have put an unsponsored car on the track. The team could be interested in that past champions provisional that Busch brings with him. Red Bull Racing is another, but there is still no investor to purchase the time. Having the champions provisional could help find someone to put some money into the team, but his attitude and behavior could be a turn-off.
Busch has even attempted to do damage control. As soon as he landed in his hometown of Las Vegas for NASCAR Champions Week, he was spreading word that he was seeing a sports psychologist and working on ways to help him better his emotions on and off the track.
He has won 24 career Cup races and has 15 career pole awards. Busch has the talent to drive a car, but the attitude that turns the sponsors away. If you notice, Busch rarely made appearances in any Shell/Pennzoil commercials and he never looked like he fit the mold as a spokesman for the company.
For Penske to give up on and release a driver with this talent, record, and potential says a lot about Busch’s actions and behavior issues. The former NASCAR Champion is on a short time line to find a ride in time for the season. Busch will definitely have to prove that he has made some serious change before anyone takes him on. For him to race and to have any chance of success in the 2012 season, he will need to be signed to his new team in the next two or three weeks at the least.
Topics: Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG Daughtery Racing, Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip Racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Penske Racing, Phoenix Racing, Red Bull Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing