Kurt Busch has become the story everywhere you currently look in NASCAR and lately, it stems from his one-race suspension due to a run-in with a reporter after another incident on the track. The latest talk has revolved around whether or not he will keep his ride at Phoenix Racing … or race at all in Sprint Cup for that matter. But if he doesn't keep his current ride or get a new one now or in the near future, it won't be for the suspension.
No matter what Kurt Busch has done to get to this potential crossroad in his career, most won't argue with the talent portion of his profession. The 33 year old has a Sprint Cup title under his belt plus he's won 24 Cup races in his dozen or so seasons in NASCAR. You don't luck into that many wins or a championship without talent.
In or out at Phoenix = $$'s
James Finch was banking on that talent when the Phoenix Racing car owner of the #51 Chevrolet made a deal to have Kurt drive in 2012. Finch currently says he's willing to continue his informal relationship with Busch. But Finch gives a window into what really might keep Kurt out of his or anyone else's car when he said: "Here's the deal: Quit wrecking the cars, get a good finish, be nice to people. That's not real hard to do. It's affecting me. If I can't get a sponsor, I can't keep running without a sponsor. That's a slow death. I don't want to do that." (Source - SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Therein lies the dilemma: money. Regardless of who you are or what you've done, if you can't get enough funding in NASCAR, you're not going to run. When Busch was hired by Finch, it was thought that he could attract sponsorship and help Finch so Phoenix Racing might put out a solid product on the track. But that hasn't happened and now with the suspension, one has to wonder if Kurt Busch helped or hurt Finch's chances of additional marketing dollars to support the team.
I remember Kurt's brother Kyle, lamenting a year or so ago about how even though Kyle owned a great Truck program, he was having issues with getting sponsorship. But that's motorsports. It's not about how good you are but more about how much you can offer a business partnership in marketing - a predicament I've worked on in marketing for decades. Whether you like it or not, it's a fact that racing is 'Marketing First'.
As stated earlier, Kurt Busch is at a crossroad and his career is on the line. If he settles down, truly understands and realizes that he doesn't come first, Busch will be fine and race for years to come.
Where to go
Rumors have circulated that both Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing have had discussions with Kurt regarding next season. Maybe that's why Busch feels confident enough not to care about his on and off track antics.
In the meantime, Finch sounds ready to bring Kurt back but needs Busch mentally in the game too. "Hopefully if we can get Kurt's mind right, we can win some races," said Finch. "If we can't get his mind right so we can race into the future, then I'll go do something else. It's just that simple. I'm doing my part." (Source - Autosport)
There's a song written by Nat King Cole called 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' that might be apropos for Kurt Busch. If he wants to do his part, money is what matters and Busch will need to straighten up, not create controversy and then maybe the funding will follow. Maybe.
Source - NASCAR, Eagle II Motorsports Marketing
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Kurt Busch
- Phoenix Racing
- James Finch