Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kurt Busch remains with Phoenix Racing, in No. 51 at Michigan

Kurt Busch qualifying at Charlotte in May 2012
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Perhaps Kurt Busch found Jesus, or at least agreed to be introduced.

James Finch, owner of the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet stated in an interview with SiriusXM last week that he and the 2004 Sprint Cup Champion would have a "come to Jesus meeting" Tuesday regarding Busch's latest clash with NASCAR and yet another incident of "actions detrimental to stock car racing."

Finch released a statement Tuesday that simply said, “We have met with Kurt. At the end of the day, we are racers so we’re going racing together with Kurt and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet. We know adjustments have to be made but how we fix that is between Kurt and myself. We’re going to go to the track, work hard, race hard and work on trying to attract a sponsor – and we’re going to do that together.”

Since Busch's suspension ends June 13, he'll be back in the No. 51 Chevy this weekend at Michigan.

Adding injury to insult, following the Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, Busch took offense at a question posed by reporter Bob Pockrass. NASCAR considered the way he expressed his displeasure be in violation of Section 12-1 of the NASCAR rule book and since Busch was already on probation for his "actions detrimental" at Darlington a few weeks ago, the sanctioning body suspended him until June 13 even though that incident followed a Nationwide Series race and the period of suspension meant he would not be able to drive for his Sprint Cup team. Busch's probation was extended from July 25 to Dec. 31.

While many may question Finch's decision to keep Busch on the payroll, the fact remains that despite missing the Pocono race, Busch sits 27th in drivers' points and now in his 13th year of Cup racing, has 24 wins, 88 top fives, 170 top tens and 15 poles in 413 starts plus that championship, of course.

The two big questions now are whether Busch will be able to control himself enough to keep from being suspended again before the end of the season, and whether James Finch will be able to find sponsorship in spite of--or because of--Kurt Busch being his driver.


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