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Will Kurt Busch Really Enjoy Not Running in the Front?: A Fan’s Perspective
James Finch owns Phoenix Racing and the #51 Chevrolet Sprint Cup team. Last year, the team finished 30th in NASCAR Sprint Cup standings - usually with rookie Landon Cassill at the wheel. Finch has hired former champion Kurt Busch to drive the #51 for the 2012 season. So is running at the back of the pack, really going to make Kurt Busch happy?
Finch, whose team is based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has had a Sprint Cup team racing at least part-time since 1990. Except for one white-knuckle win at Talladega two years ago, Finch has never had a winning car in Sprint Cup.
Brad Keselowski, who was Kurt Busch's teammate last season at Penske Racing, grabbed his first Cup victory driving for Finch in '09; but afterwards, Finch was ready to throw in the towel. It was less than two years ago that Finch put his race operation up for sale because he could no longer afford it. He said at the time: "I've had a real good time. But it's time to do something else." (Source - Fox Sports) And interestingly, Finch said: "I'm in the business to have fun and I'm going to go where I can find fun."
Why is this interesting? Those were almost the exact words Kurt Busch uttered when Penske unceremoniously cut ties with Busch at the end of 2011. Said Busch last month: "I just wanted to get back to having fun in the race car." Sounds like the two have something in common. In fact the two made the deal over a "beer and a handshake."
So maybe winning isn't as important as having fun? As someone who has been a part of racing and race teams for decades, racing does need to be fun - I will vouch for that. But in the end, if racing is in your blood, winning is the ultimate goal. If it isn't, then you won't ever win.
But again, maybe that's okay with Finch and Busch. Busch said recently after testing at Daytona: "The pressure is not there. It's not going to take winning to make me happy." It has to be said when Busch was drag racing at the NHRA GatorNationals last year competing in Pro Stock, he had a smile on all the time even though he was eliminated in the first round (source - Yahoo! Sports).
Whether Kurt Busch can keep his temper and mouth in check is the big question. A self-made man, Finch is known for his hospitable and amiable ways so maybe there's some magic the both of them can make in 2012. On the other hand, if Busch's same temperament pops up, then the fun experiment at Phoenix Racing may blow up.
Sources - NASCAR, Racing Reference, Charlotte Observer
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus blogged about every type of racing for several years.
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