Kurt Busch’s Second Life with Phoenix Racing
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion exited racing limbo today with an announcement that he will drive the no. 51 for Phoenix Racing in 2012. The deal was made with Phoenix owner James Finch late last night, reportedly over “a beer and a handshake.”
Busch has been flirting with other organizations since his “mutual” split with with Penske Racing after an incident at the end of the 2011 season during which Busch lashed out against ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch with all of our favorite four-letter words.
Phoenix owner James Finch was initially ambivalent of signing Busch in the wake of said incident, saying:
“He needs to simmer down a while. There are a lot of people that don’t like Kurt. He’s never done anything to me personally. He just needs to look in the mirror and see what the problem is.”
Finch also added that had Busch embarrassed him the way he embarrassed Penske Racing, “he would have gotten his ass beat on pit road.”
Busch’s one-year deal with Phoenix sees him taking over the seat of the no. 51 from Landon Cassill, who finished the 36-race schedule finishing 30th in points overall. Though the contract seems probationary in nature, Busch acknowledges the silver lining of a second chance. He hopes that with Phoenix Racing he will be able to rebuild his image and negotiate a better deal with a more elite racing organization in 2013.
Busch had this to say about his shot at redemption:
“For me, I want to prove I’m making the right changes. I’ve got to go and smile at the track, have fun with this building project.”
So is it too little too late for Kurt Busch or, like the phoenix, will he be born again better than ever? Leave us your thoughts below.