For NASCAR's Kurt Busch, a dearth of options
Having split with Penske Racing, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch says he's searching for a way to "put the fun back into racing for me," seeing a sports psychologist and trying to "grow as a person and be a better driver."
But if Busch plans to compete again next year in the Sprint Cup Series, the former Cup champion also needs to find fast race cars, and that could be a challenge.
Among the Cup series' premier teams, they either don't appear to have room for another driver or would be unlikely to seek Busch's services.
Hendrick Motorsports already has four drivers, the NASCAR maximum. Roush Fenway Racing, where Busch left on sour terms before joining Penske in 2006, and Richard Childress Racing are cutting back to three cars from four next year and have their drivers set.
Joe Gibbs Racing? That's home to Busch's younger brother Kyle, who's already given Gibbs and its sponsors all the controversy they need, thank you.
So that leaves teams such as Earnhardt Ganassi, Richard Petty Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing and some smaller, second-tier teams in the Cup series, where recruiting sponsors for additional cars is tough enough in this economy without a mercurial driver.
For his part, Busch, 33, told various media outlets that he's already getting unspecified phone calls and text messages that might lead to a new beginning. Whether it's in a truly competitive car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remains to be seen.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Kurt Busch while being introduced Thursday during NASCAR's Champions Week in Las Vegas. Credit: Isaac Brekken/Associated Press