Kurt Busch will leave the No. 51 car after this weekends race at Talladega Superspeedway. Team owner James Finch is unsure if they will operate in 2013 and the team is rarely sponsored, something that has stunted its growth.
When Busch was announced as the driver of the No. 51 car he talked about making racing fun again. When asked about the equipment for the team Finch said that they would not run inferior test engines from Hendrick Motorsports.
Early into the season the fun was gone and it was clear that the Chevrolet that Busch was driving had serious problems with it.
It did not need to be said but Busch said it anyway when the announcement came that he was going to take over the No. 78 car of Furniture Row Racing beginning at Charlotte.
“Everybody knows this 78 car has much more potential in it,” Busch said. “The 51 is running equipment that’s four years old, 2008 stuff. It’s very obvious why to me this is not a lateral move.”
In 28 races, Busch has just a lone top five and 2 top ten finishes. This is not what he signed up for.
After Talladega there are no more races in which Phoenix Racing can be competitive. The restrictor plate and road course races offered the only real chance for Busch to be competitive. Joining Phoenix Racing now will not even net a driver those six chances.
Two drivers being considered for the position are AJ Allmendinger and Regan Smith. Allmendinger has not driven in NASCAR since testing positive for a banned substance. Smith is the driver Busch is replacing at Furnitre Row.
Joining Phoenix Racing and expecting it to last long term is a bad idea for Allmendinger.
After Talladega the next race is Charlotte, Allmendinger has a 22.5 average finish there. At Kansas Allmendinger’s average finish is 20th. Martinsville 20.8, Texas 20th. Things get better for Allmendinger at Phoenix and Homestead.
Averages are averages. They are flawed due to one bad run or being with a poor team. Let this be known. All of the teams for which Allmendinger has driven for is better then what he would be getting himself into by joining the No. 51 car.
Is AJ Allmendinger trying to drive a racecar again or is he trying to win races?
If Allmendinger just wants to return to the sport then go ahead join the No. 51 car. After-all being remembered as a guy who finished 30th a bunch of times is better then the memory of a guy who made a mistake and was suspended. Should Allmendinger run the rest of the Sprint Cup schedule for Phoenix Racing he will become both.
Go ahead drive the car for a race or two AJ. Just do not think of it as a landing spot. There are plenty of other options out there, which could actually result in wins.