To Finish or Not to Finish? Kurt Busch Got His Answer, Loud and Clear

Tanya TaylorCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2008

Kurt's luck ran out again at Martinsville today!   The third-place finish from last week's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway was almost forgotten when the Penske Plague surfaced again.

After three blown tires and a spin out, Kurt was clear about what he wanted.  He asked his crew "Can I park this thing?"  The answer came back: "NO."

When Kurt expressed his concern for safety, I wondered if the crew took it seriously or just brushed it off as Kurt just being upset.

It got me thinking: When the driver is feeling uneasy in the car, why was he not given the option of parking it?   Kurt was more than 20 laps down, was not in the chase, and undoubtedly had a car not worth driving (as it's been most of this season).

NASCAR rules state that if the driver starts the race, they will be awarded points and money according to their finish.    How much worse could it have been if Kurt finished 41st instead of 36th (Joe Nemecheck and Ragan Smith were already out of the race). 

* Kurt was awarded 55 points, if he finished 41st, he would have been awarded 40.   Kurt is currently 18th in points and the 15 points he would have lost by not finishing would not have jeopardized his spot in the top 35.

* Regarding prize money, the purse is pretty close for the lower 35 positions.  I don't think anyone believes money is an issue.

* Sponsor concerns.   Could Miller Lite truly want to see their car running horribly, race after race?   

A good alternative would have been to pull it behind the wall and pretend to work on it.  ABC would have kept going back to check on the "progress," giving the sponsor a lot of air time.

When does a crew trust the driver?  And when does the driver say "screw it" and walk away from the car?