Finch: “Yeah, we’re still happy. It’s still a honeymoon. We had a rough start in Daytona. We crashed four cars. Then we crashed again in Las Vegas. We’ve had a pretty tough time, but all in all, Kurt is doing his part. He’s probably the hardest driver I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of drivers. I’ve had multiple drivers. Everybody says, ‘How is Kurt doing?’ I say, ‘Kurt is doing fine. I’m not doing so well. I’ve wrecked a lot of cars and hadn’t been able to secure some sponsorship yet that we desperately need. Other than that, Kurt is doing a great job and I thought he did a good job last night (at Texas).”
Despain: Dealing with the sponsorship issue, are you feeling good to go for the season or is there a question of whether you guys will be able to do all the races?
Finch: “Well, we’re trying. There’s a question. We’re off and running and trying. We’re talking to some people and going from there. We’re headed to Kansas this weekend and hopefully get in the top 10 there and then come back to Talladega and have a really good run. We’re optimistic about it. Kurt has put a lot of effort in it. It’s kind of like a small team getting a big-time quarterback. Last night (at Texas), it was 480 miles before we got a lap down. The pit crew did a real good job with all the green-flag stops. We’re just trying to catch up with Kurt. Kurt’s got the speed. We’re trying to get the crew chief up. We’re trying to get the pit crew up to be able to handle what Kurt can do. Hopefully, we’re getting there.”
Despain: It seems to me that the public sees Kurt Busch and sees a brilliantly talented driver with some anger issues. Do you see that same Kurt Busch or is the guy you deal with a different Kurt Busch?
Finch: “I come up through the dirt tracks. If Kurt and Kyle (Busch) had come up through the dirt tracks, they would have had this problem solved for them long time ago. It used to be when you go to some of those races, or go to a fight, some races would break out. Kurt and Kyle probably has the most talent I’ve ever seen. They’re ranked up there with very few. I’m just trying to do the best I can do and get some sponsorship or investors or whatever and try to go forward with Kurt. If not, I’ve put in my best effort. I’ve had a lot of drivers. I was always underfunded. I’ve had six Daytona 500 winners drive my car. Three champions. But I’ve always been underfunded and they’ve been on the tail end of their career or just getting started. The pole winner out there this week – the first time he drove a car was mine – Martin Truex. Andy Hillenburg on your show (Despain’s guest minutes prior). He won the biggest race he ever had at Daytona in my car. Congratulations to Andy for what a show today. NASCAR is the toughest racing there are and I’ve been around quite a bit of it …”
Despain: How did that win at Talladega in 2009 (with Brad Keselowski) change your team, if at all?
Finch: “The win was really nice. Brad got a ride with a real good team and he’s gone forward and has done really well. I wish I’d had a sponsor and could have kept Brad or some of them. When you get the right driver, and Kurt is the right driver, there are some points about him that he’s trying to get squared away, and he’s doing a really good job with it, because he’s went from making a lot of money to not a whole lot. He’s got to build himself back up. And I would like to be able to get the sponsorship to be able to keep him because I know when the car is ‘this and the car’s that,’ you can put the right driver in it and it fixes a lot of problems.”
Despain: When that deal was announced with Kurt, I remember you saying (paraphrasing) that you and Kurt don’t have a contract; it’s a handshake deal. But if need be, you’ll get down and wrestle in the mud if that’s what it takes to win. You were talking about a possible disagreement. Has that happened?
Finch: “No, it has not. We haven’t disagreed yet. We probably will before the year’s over but hey, I’ve been doing this a long time and I can explain it to him in the right way. It’s not with contracts and big checks. If you get in an argument, get it straight and get it straight in a hurry and usually it fixes the problem.”
Hopefully they can figure this out and get back to racing