Blog Entry

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 6:00 pm
By Pete Pistone


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(Busch's days of celebrating victories with Penske Racing are over and his Sprint Cup future is cloudy at best)

The professional sports landscape is littered with talented athletes that have dealt with emotional issues. 

Terrell Owens, Albert Haynesworth, Manny Ramirez, Milton Bradley and Dennis Rodman are just a few example of players who could at times perform at the highest level but more often than not battled emotional outbursts that clouded their careers. 

Now add Kurt Busch’s name to the list. 

The tempestuous Busch paid the ultimate price for his emotional issues when the decision to part ways from Penske Racing was reached on Monday. Despite a season that saw Busch win twice and make the Chase, he’s now looking for a new ride. 

Though the carefully worded press releases from both the organization and driver as well as subsequent comments from Busch call the split a “mutual decision,” let’s not sugar coat what really transpired. 

Roger Penske and maybe more importantly sponsor Shell/Pennzoil had reached the limit of dealing with Busch’s behavior. 

His celebrated You Tube moment at the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale that began with a single fingered salute to some innocent bystander in the garage area and ended with his expletive-laced tirade against ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch and a network camera crew that became an Internet sensation was not the only reason Busch is no longer driving the No. 22 Dodge. 

No that incident was just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and punctuated a season-long body of work which included other run-ins with the media. 

"These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company’s standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism,” the organization said in a statement following the weekend. “This matter is being reviewed internally.” 

It sure was. 

Maybe more importantly than his embarrassing encounters with the working press was Busch’s seemingly constant criticism of his team, crew chief and even the entire Penske organization. 

Whether it was aimed at former crew chief Steve Addington, who left a trail of dust behind him worthy of any Roadrunner cartoon to join Tony Stewart, the 22 crew or Roger Penske himself, Busch didn’t do himself any favors in the team morale department. 

So Busch now finds himself moving on to the next phase of his career and life. 

The spin coming from Busch is that he’s relieved to be out of the pressure cooker and that he never felt completely comfortable in the Penske organization. 

“I’m not sure I was the best fit,” Busch told the Associated Press. “My frankness and my intensity, it didn’t play the way I intended it to. It didn’t fit.” 

Given how Busch handled himself I doubt there’s a team out there where he would fit in. 

Unfortunately he may have some time before Busch can find out if that’s the case. While his resume includes twenty four Sprint Cup wins and a 2004 series championship, I’m hard pressed to think of an owner willing or able to give him another chance at least in NASCAR’s top series. 

Busch has already alienated Penske and Jack Roush, where he spent the early part of his Cup career before it ended with being parked at the end of the 2005 season in the aftermath of a drinking and driving incident in Phoenix. 

Toss in the already shrinking garage area with the likes of Roush and Richard Childress Racing shrinking from four to three teams and other organizations such as Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports having “no room at the inn,” the prospects of finding a ride anywhere near the caliber of what he had with Penske are remote at best. 

The possibility of Busch taking a second or third tier ride at the Cup level with the Front Row Motorsports or Phoenix Racing teams of the world exists. Or perhaps Busch will team with younger brother Kyle and jump into a KBM Nationwide Series or truck seat next season. 

Busch stressed several times during his day-long media blitz on Monday he was looking to “put the fun” back into his racing and that he was prepared to do whatever he could to find a option to allow him to do just that. 

He referred to his foray into the NHRA Pro Stock ranks earlier this year as well as taking part in a national street stock series as examples of when he found joy back behind the wheel. 

With the calendar now motoring into December and the start of the 2012 NASCAR season literally right around the corner, those may very well be the only two options Busch has to consider. 

Talent alone doesn’t always win out when athletes are forced to balance high emotions with their performance on the field or in this case on track.

You have to seriously wonder where and when Busch will get the opportunity to try…again.

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Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:42 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Except good ol Dale Jr don't win no more.

Since: May 31, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:06 pm

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

NASCAR drivers need to follow the good fortune of Dale Jr.  He never complains or blames others and sets a good example of how a winning driver should act.

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:38 pm

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Just heard from a good source that Kurt will be driving a 3rd car for Stewart Haas next year.  Great move all around.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:45 pm

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Both Busch brothers are douche bags. 

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:41 pm

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Y'all need to stop blaming Busch; it's all Obama's fault now. Tongue out

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:45 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

It is about time someone lets these Divas know they are human. Winning, money, celebrity, etc etc doesnt allow anyone to act like an idiot, to many athletes think they can do or say what they want and there is no reprocossions and it is ruining sports. I have a hard time rooting for a millionaire that acts like a spoiled brat while I dont have a fraction of the luxuries they have and struggle to pull enough money together just to attend one event.

Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:42 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

...anger management! huh..that's the equivelent of "drunk" classes for the likes of "Lil Al" and all his DUIs. Kurt needs to see a good psychiatrist...nothing more. But the stigma attached to that precludes Nascar boys from even seeking effective help. Tony Stewart was a loose canon not so long ago...he didn't return to the top of the heep w/ anger mangement alone...the path is different for everybody, but management isn't gonna fix Kurt Busch, he needs a real fix in the form of psycho therapy. good luck to him...the boy can drive

Since: Aug 17, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:22 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

It's about time someone reeps the consequenses for over the top behavior in NASCAR. Granted, it benefits Penske greatly or it would not have been done at all. Kurt Bush is not the money machine his brother Kyle is, and they have a potential cup champion on the rise with Keselowski. I like Brad alot, he tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, but for the most part stops short of being obnoxious. If need be get him in anger management or therapy now, before he implodes. Seriously NASCAR still rarely utters the name of Tim Rchmond for fear of slandering their sport. Richmond's behavior may have been irresponsible, and he paid a dear price for it, but the behavior of some of these current drivers has slandered and damaged NASCAR badly.


Since: Jun 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:48 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

Yo Gabert - its APPARENT you have an issue with Dale, Jr.  May I suggest some anger management therapy.  Maybe you can get into the same class with The Busch Brothers!!

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:12 am

Options limited for Kurt Busch's future

I am trying to figure out who Manny Rodriguez is...does he mean Manny Ramirez?
He got one error fixed. The next one on the table is to explain how Milton Bradley performed at the highest level. The guy certainly took up space in the majors but I'm not so sure he fits in with the rest of that group. The other guys at least made fairly successfull careers out of their time in their respective sport. The only thing Milton Bradley did well was screw the Cubs out of $30 million dollars.


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