I wanted to write about this topic since this weekend, but I haven’t had much time to write about it until now.
Kurt Busch, as you all know, was suspended by NASCAR for the entire weekend (for both Nationwide and Cup) at Pocono Raceway because of his verbal abuse towards a media member after last Saturday’s 5 Hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway.
For Busch, his job (and potentially his NASCAR career) could be in serious jeopardy. Phoenix Racing owner James Finch told Sirius XM Radio yesterday that he will sit down with the former Cup champion next week to discuss his future with the team.
As I was not surprised about the suspension, NASCAR has finally sent Kurt a message with it.
For Busch, this might be his final stand at showing everyone that he can still drive the wheels off of a race car and control his temper. If Kurt Busch does become a free-agent once again, it might become very difficult for him to find another ride for one simple reason. Sponsorship.
In todays day in age, NASCAR drivers need more than just the driving ability and the expertise to become successful. You can’t just drive the wheels off the car like you could without a sponsor 40 years ago. Today, sponsorships in the sport are very important now more than ever. We all know that without sponsorships, race teams cannot function.
Kurt certainly has the skills and the ability to drive a race car. No question. However, when you look at the sponsorship side of the operation, sponsors will surely second guess their commitment with a driver like Busch driving a car with their logo on it.
Every decision drivers make (whether its pre-race, during the race, or post-race) can have an affect on your sponsor. Kurt’s brother Kyle is a prime example of what happens with a driver who makes an incredibly wrong choice/judgement. Last November, M&M’s suspended their Cup sponsorship for the final two races of 2011 after Kyle wrecked Ron Hornaday intentionally during the Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Regardless of whatever happens to Kurt Busch, he is an incredibly talented race car driver. He has had his ups and downs throughout his NASCAR career. However, if Busch does not last the entire season with Phoenix Racing, then maybe its time for Busch to consider calling it quits.
Added by Brandon Butler at 2:47PM EST:
To add to the story, I’ve listened to what James Finch said about Kurt Busch. Right now, it seems that Finch is really upset and fed up with Busch at this point. I totally understand that. Finch also said what I said in the post. Kurt Busch, the way that he is right now, won’t attract sponsors to sponsor Finch’s race car. At this point, his chances of running in the #51 car next week at Michigan are 50-50. We’ll see what happens.