Richard Petty, or “The King” as he has been nicknamed, is the original master of public relations in NASCAR before drivers had representatives to help keep them in check. Petty didn’t need anyone to tell him to stop and sign autographs or spend some time with the television cameras. He sought out the fans and the media every chance he had.
Many NASCAR writers and fans, including myself, are now questioning his move to negotiate with Kurt Busch to drive one of the most famous numbers in NASCAR history. Believe it or not it isn’t the perfect spot for Kurt Busch to land. Teaming Busch with a fan favorite like “The King” and having him drive the iconic No. 43 will be a huge coup for both Petty and Busch.
There are two major sticking points moving forward with this deal. The most obvious problem facing Busch and Petty is finding a sponsor. STP has not been a full-time sponsor in the sport for several years but they could be coaxed into a return with a top of the line driver. If STP were to step up and make a full season deal with Busch and Petty on the No. 43 Ford, it will bring back the sponsor that pioneered NASCAR sponsorship deals.
STP may not have the resources to completely cover the No. 43 for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season but they could make it possible for RPM to move forward and tender a deal for Kurt Busch. However, the Richard Petty Motorsports now is a Ford Motorsports team, and Busch once drove a Ford with Roush-Fenway Racing. This brings us to the second potential issue.
Richard Petty Motorsports shares information, engines, and technology with Roush-Fenway Racing. Jack Roush has a lot of pull with Petty and this could result in a snag late in the negotiations for Busch.
Would Jack Roush step in and refuse to let Busch come back? Guess time will tell how convincing “The King” is when he gets Roush and Ford Motorsports behind closed doors.