As a lot of people heard over the radio Saturday night in Richmond, Kurt Busch was pretty outspoken about how he sees things at Penske Racing right now.
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Unfortunately, he had nothing positive to say.
Fellow Penske driver Brad Kesolowski enjoyed a good qualifying run, but it seemed as soon as the green flag waved, he fell back and never recovered.
Over on his teammate’s side of things, obviously things are not too healthy in the No. 22 camp. That group has been in the top 10 in points all season long, but have only been able to do that by salvaging good finishes. They only have one top-five finish, and that was clear back in February in the Daytona 500.
The thing I see is the dissension among Kurt and the team on the radio when things aren’t going well. That doesn’t fix it or make things better.
I actually am shocked that Roger Penske, the owner and the legend that he is, hasn’t put his foot down harder about this situation.
Look at the No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson at Richmond International Raceway. They weren’t much better than Busch. However, they worked on things all night. They kept their cool and were able to salvage a top-10 finish out of the night. They are a classic example of working through things as a team and turning a lousy night into an OK night.
Getting at each other, screaming, yelling and cussing people out over the radio accomplishes nothing. Well, I take that back, because actually all it does is take a bad situation and make it worse.
If Roger Penske would ask me today what one thing he could do to make his teams better, I would say getting the guys to work together better when things aren’t good.
I think it all has to come from the top. Roger Penske has a lot of people in place that run those race teams for him. They are good people and they do a good job. But when you hear the things we heard over the radio this past weekend, I only see one guy that can put a stop to it, and that’s Roger Penske.
Kurt Busch is an awesome race car driver. He’s a NASCAR champion. Kurt is an awesome guy. I consider Kurt a friend of mine. With that said, Kurt has to get his emotions under control. When he climbs in that car, puts that helmet on and then things go wrong, he goes berserk.
It doesn’t matter who the crew chief is, Kurt has to learn to control his emotions.
This was a little bit of an issue when Kurt drove for Jack Roush, and now it is becoming an issue at Penske Racing. All it does is beat the guys that work on that race car into the ground. It’s not going to make them work harder. It’s not going to make them do things different. If anything, it probably makes them question why they want to sacrifice all they do for Kurt.
There is no reason in the world, with the caliber of drivers that Kurt and Brad are, that they should be running as bad as they are running. It’s a downside unfortunately of being basically the only Dodges week in and week out in the field.
When you get the upper hand on something, well, things are pretty good when you are on this Dodge Island by yourself. However, when things aren’t good, it can be really, really bad. That seemingly is what is going on being a Dodge team.
Penske Racing has to get its arms around this. I don’t think changing personnel is the answer. You have to get everyone on the same page, whether it’s when you are running really well or running poorly. That’s the first order of business for them.
If you get that and things still don’t improve, then you have to start asking about what could be done differently personnel-wise.