The Writer’s Block: Kurt Busch and The Chase  

Team Release



Disclaimer: The Writer’s Block is a weekly segment airing on TheRacingExperts.Com with commentary from different writers around the industry. All opinions expressed are solely those of the respective writers. Writer’s opinions are listed in alphabetical order by NAME, not website/entity.

This week, the journalists weigh in on their picks to make the Chase and the situation surrounding Kurt Busch in 2013.

Q. Does Kurt Busch Deserve A Quality Ride in 2013?
Photo by Wesley Daniel / TheRacingExperts.Com
Kurt Busch has scored just two top-10 finishes this season for Phoenix Racing.

Steven Ellis, The Hockey House.Net:

“All based on how he controls himself the rest of the season. There is no question he has talent; he won the 2004 championship, after all. If he can prove he can handle his emotions, I think he can land a nice ride next season. Tony Stewart has gone on record saying he would hire him in a heartbeat if sponsorship would come on board.




Bryan Keith, Frontstretch.Com:

“Driver talent is not something that Kurt Busch has ever been short of, and that's shone through on numerous occasions this season before mechanical issues sour the deal. If this was a question of merit and merit alone, the answer is a resounding yes, as Busch has done things with Phoenix Racing's Cup car that Landon Cassill, Bill Elliott and everyone else that's taken the wheel the past few seasons didn't come close to doing.

Having said that, Busch's temper proved toxic to previous sponsor Shell/Pennzoil and Penske Racing has surfaced on numerous occasions even this season, culminating in a mid-season suspension that nearly cost Busch his ride in the No. 51. It was only the outspoken support of his race team that kept him in the Finch camp.

Busch is arguably the most talented driver in NASCAR right now not in a top-tier car. There's no doubt that in terms of skill, he deserves better. But his current situation, one without sponsorship pressures and a team truly behind him, may not be something to rush away from, even if that means a second Cup will likely never happen.”




Zachary Lange, The Racing Experts.Com:

“Absolutely…Not. Kurt Busch is the premier example in the NASCAR world of a well-known name, with a well-known poor attitude on and off track. On track, he hasn’t shown any results this year. He has Hendrick Motorsports equipment, and with that fantastic equipment he has produced five lead lap finishes. He has wrecked 17 cars altogether this season (practice and races), and is 25th in points. Off track, he nearly has been in a half dozen fist fights, whether it’s with a fellow driver or a member of the media who is simply doing their job. Kurt Busch is an absolute cancer to a team at this point in his career. Unless he can go to counseling or therapy and work out the kinks in his personality disorder, he will never be successful again.”





Ben Montedonico, Bleacher Report:

“I believe Kurt has the talent to compete in a quality ride as we've seen with Roush and Penske in the past. But while I've had the privilege of meeting Kurt and he was very kind to me, he hasn't shown the greatest amount of gratitude for his opportunities and I'm not so sure one of those top-tier rides shouldn't go to a deserving Nationwide or Truck Series standout who would be grateful for it. Obviously, Trevor Bayne's name has been tossed around for the No. 22 ride while Justin Allgaier and James Buescher are a couple of drivers who have raced in the lower-tier series for a few years and have waited their turn. So it all comes down to who you'd like to see representing the sport: Kurt or one of those other guys? For me, I think I'd rather have one of the other guys, although Kurt wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.






Q. Which driver currently outside the wildcard hunt can make a charge and get into the Chase?
Photo by Wesley Daniel / TheRacingExperts.Com
Ryan Newman is currently one of the six drivers eligible for a Chase spot via wildcard.


Dominic Aragon, The Racing Experts.Com:

It has been a wild race for the wildcard spots (no pun intended). With six drivers eligible for a potential wildcard spot, the next four races will keep adding more suspense and more drama as the Chase nears. But the way Kyle Busch has run, the No. 18 team looks like the biggest threat to steal a second win, and thus, the second spot. Kyle Busch had a trip victory lane vanish on Sunday from the oil leaked out on track.  However, he has won at all four of the next racetracks, so despite a season of inconsistency and heartbreak, that could all be erased with a win before the Chase.  


Steven Ellis, The Hockey House.Net:

“Jeff Gordon for sure. A four time champion has no reason to not compete for another one. I think his early season struggles are behind, and after winning at Pocono, things are starting to go his way.



Bryan Keith, Frontstretch.Com:

Kyle Busch came awfully close to making it happen at the Glen until he got caught up in Bobby Labonte's 2.5 mile oil slick. And having seen just how well the No. 18 ran on Sunday, it's hard to believe that, with a slate upcoming that includes the bullrings of Bristol and Richmond, they won't find victory lane at least one more time before the Chase kicks off. Out of their closest competitors, Edwards, Gordon and Newman, Busch has challenged for more wins in 2012 than all the rest combined, and considering that Rowdy got beaten and banged out of a win this time around, it's a foregone conclusion that the chrome horn will be on the table from here on out.

 The No. 18 car will enter the Chase with two wins. At least.



Ben Montedonico, Bleacher Report:

“A lot of people seem to forget that Carl Edwards even exists, and really, who can blame them? He has made zero noise this year, save for the fact that he's been such a disappointment after coming oh-so-close to the title a year ago. But he's 12th in the standings and if he wins Michigan this weekend, which we know is possible, he'd have one of those two Wild Card spots. I believe Edwards, along with maybe Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, is the only driver with a legitimate shot at winning on each of the next four race tracks. Edwards has victories at Michigan, Bristol and Atlanta, and he absolutely dominated at Richmond in the Spring before that bizarre restart penalty. I believe Edwards can break through at one or two of the remaining four tracks before the Chase. If he does, he's in prime position to steal one of those Wild Card spots.