Kurt Busch in one of his better moments with the media, Michelle Beadle from ESPN's "Sports Nation"
Imagine you are Kurt Busch today. “OK, no time like the present to get started on the job hunt. Let’s get the old rolodex out and start working on getting some resumes out.
Hmm, let’s see, there’s Roush Fenway. Oh yeah, been there, done that. It didn’t end real well, either. Or how about Richard Childress? No, they just shut the 33 team down, and there was that deal with old man Childress and my bro in the truck series. Besides, I really can’t see working with Harvick.
Hey, teams don’t get much better than Hendrick Motorsports? Wait, Jimmie and I have a little, uh, history. Come to think of it, I’ve done some trash talking about Mr. Hendrick, too. Hey, I know, I could go to work with my brother Kyle over at Joe Gibbs! I keep hearing talk about them expanding to four cars! Oh yeah, little brother might not make the best reference right now.
What’s this? Stewart Haas? Me working for Tony Stewart? Now that’s funny right there.”
You get the picture. Seems like the Captain has some options in his search to fill the seat of the 22 car at Penske Racing. You’ve got a stand up journeyman like David Reutimann to take the wheel, a hungry kid like David Ragan, or you could even gamble on a young veteran like Brian Vickers, who at this point may be eager for some redemption of his own. Penske could even hire from within and either give Sam Hornish a second chance, or call up Parker Kligerman.
The same can’t be said for Busch. Sure, he’s got the championship resume, but the teams in the best position to win are either all set, or there’s some past relationship baggage with Kurt.
Now it’s not to say Earnhardt- Ganassi couldn’t find room for a driver of Kurt’s caliber, or maybe even at Richard Petty. Then there’s the sponsorship issue: Busch and whoever hires him has a selling job to do that the mercurial winner of 24 Sprint Cup races and the 2004 Chase has learned his lesson. He’s no dummy and is certainly saying a lot of the right things, and is at least talking like a guy who’s owning his mistakes. Saying the right thing, and actually doing the right thing are two separate challenges, and he’ll have to stand the test of time on some of it.
Speaking from experience, yours truly knows one can master his own unruly temperament. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Here’s wishing Kurt Busch well as he comes face to face with himself and admits he can’t go on anymore like he has been. People don’t or shouldn’t have to endure the verbal sewage heaped upon them by Kurt Busch or anyone else. Here’s hoping some other notorious bad boys are paying attention. You can be fiery and competitive without being a rectal orifice.
I can just hear strains of Eric Clapton singing “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out,” as a sound track. Money, fame and achievement can buy you a lot of things, but it’s not going to be a snap of the fingers to just go snag another ride. There aren’t any real openings. Not any real attractive ones for a talent of Busch’s caliber.
This would sure be a lot easier if there wasn’t such a litany of incidents and offenses in the driver’s past. Seems like all that parental advice about not burning one’s bridges comes into play here.
Other articles by Jim McCoy include:
11 Big NASCAR Stories For 2011
Hail To The Crew Chief, Darian Grubb
Kahne Does Right By Red Bull