NASCAR is a gambling game, not a winning game, says Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch is halfway through his first season driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. (HHP Photo/Chris Owens)

CONCORD, North Carolina – Six million dollars.

When asked what a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver like John Hunter Nemechek would need to secure a full-time run in the Cup Series, Nemechek’s former team owner Kyle Busch had an honest answer. .

“It’s not a game of success anymore, it’s a game of money,” said Busch, who lost his longtime run at Joe Gibbs Racing last season because he had no sponsorship. . “If he can find the money, there will be a seat waiting for him, I’m sure.”

As the owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports — a Truck Series operation that has two full-time entries — Busch is familiar with the rising costs associated with NASCAR racing. From his perspective, the amount of money that Cup Series team owners make from their involvement in the sport is not enough for them to be willing to reinvest in a talent pool.

Instead, the driver is primarily responsible for bringing funds to the team, creating a sponsorship-dependent structure for anyone who wants to move up the NASCAR ranks. However, Busch noted that not all NASCAR rides reflect this theme.

“I think Rick (Hendrick) is probably the only one, along with Kyle Larson, but everyone else is all sponsor driven,” Busch said, referring to the recently crowned All-Star Race winner.

Busch bows out after winning the Geico 500 on April 23. (HHP/David Graham)

With a limited number of spots available in the ranks of professional racing – not just NASCAR – it’s inevitable that even the rarest driving talent will never make it to the biggest stages of motorsport.

“When I raced super late models across the country, I raced guys who were very, very talented and very capable of getting to the big time, but they never got there or didn’t never had the right funding behind them,” Busch said.

He named Scott Hansen of Wisconsin and Mike Rowe of Maine as past examples of naturally gifted helmsmen who never reached their full potential in NASCAR.

His modern examples included Bubba Pollard, one of the nation’s most successful super late model racers, and Josh Berry, although Berry now appears to have his foot in the door for a Cup Series ride after serving as a replacement for Hendrick. Motorsports at eight races this season.

“Sometimes when you’re here in the Cup or Xfinity or whatever, the talent isn’t as great as it could be if you had all these types of guys here,” Busch said. “It would be much more difficult. But that’s an opinion, so who knows.

The car disparity has also narrowed, according to Busch, who is halfway through his first season driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the Cup Series. With lap time differences that often amount to tenths of a second, there is little separation in the field when it comes to car capabilities between major NASCAR operations such as RCR, Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Busch concluded, “You had to have car disparity and driver disparity, and now you don’t really have either.”

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