Friday, September 22, 2023

Kyle Busch Says NASCAR is ‘Not a Success Game Anymore, It’s a Money Game’

Kyle Busch NASCAR business model Limitations
Kyle Busch was animated on a number of topics during his media availability at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday. Photo Credit: Craig White,

Kyle Busch didn’t hold back in his media availability at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday on a number of topics, including what former Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver and current Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Xfinity Series driver John Hunter Nemechek needs to get back to full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing.

“This isn’t to be mean or rude or a bad word, but [Nemechek] needs six million bucks and he’ll be in a JGR Cup car next year,” Busch answered. “That’s all he needs.”

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Busch expanded on his thought by saying, “It’s not a success game anymore. It’s a money game. So, if he can find the cash, then there will be a seat for him I’m pretty sure.”

Like him, as more fans are beginning to do these days, or hate him, as many fans still do, you can’t deny that the 38-year-old racer always seems to be a straight shooter. If he sees a problem within the sport, within his team, or anything else, he doesn’t mind sounding off on it.

Busch says even he, a winner of 227 NASCAR National Series races, isn’t immune from the money-over-talent problem within the team owner business model of the sport right now.

“There’s no question that you have to have funding behind you because these owners anymore –- there’s not enough money in the sport that they’re making money that they’re willing to reinvest it into their talent pool, into their driver pool, and put it out there,” Busch explained. “I think Rick [Hendrick] is probably the only one with [Kyle] Larson. Everybody else is all sponsorship driven and fortunately for me, I’ve got some great sponsors this year behind me with RCR. Our program has been building and we’ve been continuing to expand forward on the sponsorship side, so that’s good.”

Now, it’s no surprise that money rules all in the world of NASCAR, as it’s been a frustrating talking point for fans, media, and everyone alike for years, but to hear a NASCAR Cup Series champion driver and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion team owner voice it, and actually, be impacted by it as well, it carries more weight.

Busch’s words also lend credence to the teams that make up the Race Team Alliance that are fighting for a larger portion of the NASCAR revenue pie on the next television rights deal. Last year, representatives from the teams alleged that the teams in the NASCAR Cup Series — Hendrick Motorsports included — do not turn a profit year in and year out. And they haven’t for a long, long time.

The question becomes, if teams start turning profits, can they afford to take chances on talented drivers, who maybe have less money backing them? It definitely doesn’t hurt the odds. At the end of the day, if talent behind the wheel trumps money being brought in, the overall on-track product will only be strengthened.

During his availability, Busch was also vocal about the limitations put in place for full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers dipping into other NASCAR National Series ranks. Busch explains that being able to run NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races specifically, would aid him in figuring out what areas his Kyle Busch Motorsports team needs to improve upon.

“Yeah, definitely miss being able to run as much as I want to a lot,” Busch stated. “I would love to have way more Truck races, especially. I thought [Kyle Busch Motorsports] started out strong and we were going to have a good year with winning at Las Vegas with the KBM Chevrolets, but unfortunately, we’ve been terrible since. We’re missing something somewhere and we’re trying to figure out why and what. We have an idea, but we haven’t necessarily conquered it yet.

“That would be one that I would really like to get back into would be the Truck Series and running my own stuff a little bit more. Having some more races to kind of just build the program and make sure that we are where we need to be with our younger drivers. Not necessarily having that experience to be able to dictate and tell exactly what’s wrong with our vehicle dynamic and stuff like that.”

While Busch says he could take it or leave it with running additional NASCAR Xfinity Series events these days, as he doesn’t own a team in that series, he still says he enjoys racing whenever and wherever he can.

It’s why Busch has been doing more local dirt racing.

“I have to.. what other choices do I have,” Busch laughed.

Busch will start from the fifth position in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after qualifying was washed out on Saturday. Busch, the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 winner, finished runner-up in this event last season to Denny Hamlin.

This will be his first attempt at the 600-mile race with Richard Childress Racing, a team he moved to for the 2023 season.

The Coca-Cola 600 is set for Sunday, May 28th at 6:00 PM ET. FOX will provide television coverage for the event, while PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide the radio broadcast.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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    • no one told these team owners they needed 400/500 employees to run a race team. this is why they need the $$$$.

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