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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tryson announcement puts Kurt Busch in tough position

Timing is everything in life, and Pat Tryson had some pretty bad timing with his announcement last week that he will be heading to Michael Waltrip Racing to be crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. next season.

The problem is that Tryson is crew chief of Kurt Busch at Penske Racing … that same Kurt Busch who is running for a championship right now. But due to the move, which should have been announced after the season under all rational logic, Tryson is now barred from the shop for everything other than a weekly briefing about how the race car will be set up for the next race.

Busch ran great at New Hampshire, so it hasn’t had any effect yet, but in the long run it can’t be a good sign for Busch’s title hopes. The team is right to keep Tryson at arm’s length, so he doesn’t see what the team is doing for 2010 and take that knowledge to a competitor, but it will no doubt create situations where Tryson is not as well-informed as he needs to be about the setups.

Beyond all that, egos are big in this sport, and there are going to be some bad vibes going around the garage due to the bad timing of the announcement. Team members may have animosity toward Tryson for not waiting until the season ended to make his announcement, and those kind of bad vibes are never good for a team.

Part of me says it’s best just to get an interim crew chief to ride out the Chase, one who can be exposed to all the work being done for this year and next year, but that would be risky. Busch got to the Chase with Tryson, and plucking in a new crew chief would be even worse than the Tryson situation.

I don’t think Tryson is doing anything wrong by leaving, as he has every right to do so, but there was no reason for him to jump the gun with this announcement and put Busch’s title run in jeopardy.

And judging from Kurt’s reactions in his interviews since the news broke, I’m pretty sure he shares the same view.

Jr. v. Reutimann
Dale Jr. can’t buy a break this year. He was running pretty strong at New Hampshire, and Reutimann sent him into the wall. Afterward, Jr. was very critical, saying that Reutimann didn’t know how to hold his line and “ran out of talent”. Naysayers might point to Reutimann’s higher position in the standings in that debate, but I won’t go there. It’s clear Jr. is frustrated, and days like this make him wish all the more that this season was over already and he could focus on a fresh start for 2010.


Blogger Kevin said...

Penske is ruining the best chance for a Cup Championship, ever. Tryson brought a lot of those secrets to Penske in the first place. If I was Kurt, I'd be looking for a new boss asap.

September 27, 2009 at 12:12 AM 

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