Kurt Busch's car at Charlotte. Photo by Wesley Daniel / TheRacingExperts.Com
By Brandon Hauff
Throughout the past few weeks, there have been many altercations involving the driver of the No. 51, Kurt Busch. As a result, his punishment was one race gone from the Sprint Cup Series. There have been several rumors surrounding the team and the driver as well. The question many viewers and fans want to know is what's next?
This is not the first time controversy has surrounded the elder Busch brother. Last season, he ran into altercations with Jimmie Johnson, and more importantly ESPN reporter, Dr. Jerry Punch. Plus, back in 2002, he had many run-ins with Jimmy Spencer that even continued into the 2003 season. James Finch saw the talent that he could grab, so he did, but so far, Busch and Finch have not met up to their expectations at all. With only one top-10 finish in thirteen starts, Busch and Finch have shared their times of frustration. His verbal threats made toward journalist Bob Pockrass last weekend at Dover might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back on his current ride.
Since his Sprint Cup Career started back in 2001, Kurt has shown that he has the talent to get it done in anything he drives. With his championship in 2004 with Roush Racing, many people believed that this was the start of something big for him. Unfortunately, in the late 2005 season, he was suspended for the final two races of the season due to a DUI. After the season, he was released from his ride, and hired by Roger Penske to drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge after the retirement of Rusty Wallace. There, he made the Chase twice and won several races. Then in 2011, he drove the No. 22 Pennzoil Dodge when Brad Keselowski was hired to drive the No. 2. He won twice last year, and made the Chase as well. Over the offseason though, he was released by Penske after the Homestead incident with Dr. Jerry Punch.
For James Finch, he has spent his entire career in NASCAR as an underdog. He has owned a Nationwide team for many years, which has seen its fair share of success with twelve wins 1996-2009. Finch’s high point in the Cup Series came in 2009 at Talladega in the spring Sprint Cup race, when his driver at the time, Brad Keselowski pulled off the monumental upset. Since 2009, the team switched their car number from 09 to 51 in 2011 and has had various drivers run the car. 2012 looked to bring stability with the gifted talent of Kurt Busch, but wrecked race cars and now the suspension have dampened any hopes of turning the 51 team in to Chase contenders.
However, now the question surrounds the team with, what's next for them, now that is currently serving his suspension. Phoenix Racing may have the resources to compete inside the top-15, but the fact that the car does not carry a sponsor puts a huge financial burden on James Finch. As we’ve seen in the past with Bobby Labonte, Finch isn’t afraid to throw his own dollars toward his cars, but he has had some sort of backing along the way. The racing world is anxious to see if a new chapter is about to begin for Kurt Busch and Phoenix Racing.