Once again, Kurt Busch's reckless behavior has cost him a Sprint Cup ride. While it hasn't been officially confirmed by Penske as of Monday morning, it has been reported by many main sources. Those sources include ThatsRacin.com, SB Nation, Jayski, and NASCAR.com. All said similar things.
Busch lost his ride because of the events that occurred at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the season finale. He made an "obscene gesture" to an unspecified person in his in-car camera after having a mechanical failure early in the race. What happened after the event was what pushed him over the edge, however. While waiting to be interviewed by Dr. Jerry Punch of ESPN, Busch said some not-so-G-rated-words. The event was not caught live, and things settled down right before the camera went live. But a nearby fan had his camera rolling throughout the entire thing. The video, which is all over the internet now, has over 400,000 views.
Kurt was originally fined $50,000 for his actions a couple weeks ago, but now he has paid the ultimate price for the second time in his Cup career. Roush Racing lost patience with him after he was arrested in 2005, less than a year after winning his first championship, for "criminal recklessness in an alcohol-related incident." He didn't race in the final two races of that season, and was released almost immediately in the offseason. Fast-forward to late 2011, and a similar story takes place. This is how things look for many of the key players in this latest one:
Kurt: His options for 2012 are limited, for I doubt Roush will let him back in to their stables. He could go to Richard Childress Racing and split time in the #33 car with Austin Dillon, however Kurt wouldn't like being a part-time driver. But that is really his only possibility right now, as it would take a heck of a smart team owner to create a new team for him in just 2 months. I can be done, as Joe Gibbs, Michael Waltrip, Red Bull (if they're still around next year), and many others have 3 or less entries for 2012. But this situation is so new and so developing, we don't really know. But one thing's for sure: Kurt will be racing next year. He's got too much talent to be left out to dry, worst-case-scenario an underfunded team picks him up to get into the top 35 in points.
Roger Penske: As I said before, it's only 2 months until teams go onto the track. But Penske is in a much better situation, as he currently fields a team with -literally- everything but a driver. And once that role is filled, the current No. 22 team can go back to their potential. Many drivers are available on the Silly Season market both in Cup and Nationwide, and granted, none have as much talent as Busch, but there's still a good crop right there. I expect Penske to be the busiest in the offseason, trying to fill that role, whether in one full-time driver or many part-time drivers.
The Silly Season Drivers: Many drivers are on the market, including David Ragan, David Reutimann, Brian Vickers, and many others. I believe Reutimann would be the best to fit the role of driver, as he is the cleanest driver with the most success. Ragan simply hasn't proven his worth yet in the Cup Series, and Vickers features too many strained on-track relationships. But Reutimann comes from a nice background, proving that he is a well-rounded top 20 driver who can contend for the Chase. He has won 2 races, including he Coca-Cola 600, and is more mature than both other drivers combined. Another likely scenario is that Penske brings Sam Hornish Jr. back up to NASCAR's top series. He won his first Nationwide race late in the season, and is the only one with background at Penske Racing, which should come in handy if he's called back up.
NASCAR: The last thing NASCAR needs is all of these drivers taking reckless and childish paths. First Kyle Busch, then Brian Vickers, now Kurt. The sports media stature is already going way down, and we don't need these actions, many of which have brought penalty. These things are sending the wrong message to potential fans of the sport. The main problem is just that Kurt and Kyle are so immature. They wreck whomever they can find, blame things on anyone but themselves, and bring a childish, whining behavior into the garage. Some may say that the drivers are just expressing their emotion, or that NASCAR needs more "bad boys". I disagree. This sport was built on hard racing, on-track action, and the drivers determination. Not reckless behavior, ecspecially to the fans.