When Kyle Busch announced he was forming a new Camping World Truck Series team last December, he certainly didn't anticipate the financial troubles he's encountered with Kyle Busch Motorsports this season.
KBM was intended to be a multi-truck operation (perhaps as many as four); a sparkling new race shop remains under construction; Busch hired one of the best minds in the Truck Series, Rick Ren, to run his competition department.
But sponsorship turned out to be much harder to find than he thought; for most of the season, Busch has been running part of the team out of his own pocket; KBM has been reduced to running one partially funded truck.
Apparently, that can't last into next year without sponsorship. On Friday, Busch answered a question about possibly closing his team without a sponsor by saying, "I think it's going to be pretty detrimental (to the Truck Series) to not have myself in the series."
Though he said he doesn't have a deadline to find sponsorship before making a decision on KBM's future, Busch said it's been an eye-opener as to how difficult the search for funding can be.
"For myself, it's hard," he said. "It's very hard. Look at Tony Stewart. He's got to find half of a sponsor for next year (to go along with Office Depot). Jeff Gordon's got to find something for next year. Mark Martin has had HendrickCars.com – that's not a sponsor, that's Rick Hendrick putting his money on that car.
"It's unfortunate the way the economy is. It's going to be difficult for us race teams to stay in business without sponsors on our trucks or our cars."
Busch criticized some other truck teams for taking less money than they should. The market for sponsors has been watered down by those teams who have accepted $250,000 or $300,000 in sponsorship dollars for the entire season, Busch said.
Though those decisions are out of survival reasons, Busch knows that if other teams take fewer dollars, it makes it tough for upper-echelon organizations like KBM to charge sponsors a higher amount.
"The tobacco debacle now, with the United States government (a ban on advertising). That's locked out people who have the money to do it."
Busch said that's a common theme: Those who have the money can't or won't sponsor a team; those who want to sponsor a team don't have the money to do it.
"So you're fighting two avenues there," Busch said. "Being an owner and being able to talk to all of these guys, I'm kind of finding that out."