Kurt Busch's Future in NASCAR is Coming One Year at a Time
Today's NASCAR scene when it comes to results are all about getting them now. There are many proven drivers on the circuit that have won races, even championships, that are in situations that are good for business, and careers.
But, what happens when a driver's career becomes a season-by-season progression?
Sadly, that's what Kurt Busch is now dealing with as for the second time in two years, he's on the move. His move to Furniture Row Racing in 2013 is his latest move for a driver that for a long time could be considered a very marquee driver, one that has been successful on the track, but also very hot-tempered when off.
It's no secret that his time with his first Cup team was filled with drama, but also with success. When Busch ran for Roush-Fenway, his incidents with Jimmy Spencer brought out a rivalry that was constantly being stirred up.
That came to a head in August 2003 when Busch and Spencer had a confrontation in the garage, one that ended with Specer allegedly striking Busch, causing him to be suspended for one race.
One year later, he would become the first winner of the Chase for the Cup, seemingly putting his experiences from the previous years to rest. But, one year later, just as the season was coming to a close, and in the midst of racing for a second Chase championship, Busch's season ended two races early.
A run-in with police in Phoenix, where Busch then berated the officer, came to light and Roush simply refused to speak for his driver any longer. Busch was already slated to head to Penske Racing to take over the No. 2 of the retiring Rusty Wallace, but would get a head start as he was terminated from his driving duties.
His time at Penske, despite many Chase appearances, also ended with a lot of drama. His move from the No. 2 to the No. 22 last season had more profanity-spoken radio chatter that many would rather not hear on race day. He berated the organization, the cars, his own team and anything else he could think of. It all came to a head at Homestead when after transmission issues ended his day, he was caught by a fan on video cussing out ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch, a very well-respected individual among everyone in the garage area.
That seemed to be the breaking point as Penske released Busch from his contract after the season concluded.
With little opporunities available, Busch took the ride with James Finch to drive the No. 51. Little sponsorship but a big name gave him a new outlook, as he decided to treat the season from an "old school" point of view.
But, some things never change. Busch would continue to berate the cars, and some of his fellow competitors, getting into a fight with the crew of Ryan Newman at Darlington, putting him on probation. A few weeks later, he was caught cussing out a reporter on camera. That forced NASCAR to extend the probation Busch was on, and suspending him one race.
Having only signed for one year, the chance that he would return to Finch was there, but Busch this week was signed to another one-year contract with Furniture Row Racing.
What once was a driver that could be signed for many years as he was at Roush and Penske has since been reduced to one-car teams and short-term contracts. Ultimately, with how the competition has been in recent years, that could be how Busch's career will end, with him looking for rides at each season's end, with the hope of someone signing him to a longer-term deal.
He may still have the talent, but unfortunately with the amount of quality rides still available in the sport, and the risks that come with signing a hair-trigger driver such as him, that could be how Busch's NASCAR career could be as it winds down.
A sad truth for the first ever Chase for the Sprint Cup champion.