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Busch Signs With Phoenix Racing

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, December 22 2011

Kurt Busch will drive full time for Phoenix Racing in 2012. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

Phoenix Racing announced Thursday that it has hired former Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch to drive one of its cars in 2012.

“I’m very happy to join Phoenix Racing and after entertaining a lot of quality offers, there’s no better place for me,” said Busch, winner of 24 Sprint Cup races, as well as the 2010 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the 2011 Gatorade Duel, the 2004 Cup title and the 2011 Budweiser Shootout. “We’re going to run the full schedule together, and we’re going to have fun doing it.

“It’s going to be old-school racing, where we show up, race hard and go for the win. And if we don’t win, we’ll go back to the shop, work hard and do it all over again next week. That’s the way we all started racing, and it’s great to get back to that.”

James Finch, owner of Phoenix Racing, completed his 20th year as a NASCAR team owner in 2011. His Spartanburg, S.C.-based team has won 13 NASCAR races, the most prominent of which was the April 2009 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“All we want to do is win,” Finch said. “Winning is why I’ve been in racing for as long as I have, but NASCAR is a very competitive sport, and winning – especially at the Sprint Cup level – is hard. But now with Kurt Busch as our driver, we have a shot to win every week. He’s a past champion and he’s proven he can win everywhere. Our sponsors are looking forward to Kurt representing their brands.”

Phoenix gets its engines and chassis from Hendrick Motorsports.

“We have excellent equipment and a hard-working group of guys who want that trophy at the end of every race. Kurt’s the guy who can deliver it to them,” Finch said.

Busch had spent the last six years driving for Penske Racing. But his situation with that team went bad late in the 2011 season as Busch was heard making disparaging remarks about his team on car-to-team radio transmissions.

Then, early in the final race of the season, Busch was caught on amateur video cussing out a television reporter after Busch’s car went to the garages with a damage.

Shortly after the season ended, Busch and Penske parted ways.

Busch will drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet Impala in 2012, and his first race will be the non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway where he is the defending winner.

“James Finch has always had pretty stout cars for the restrictor-plate races and I know we’ll be very competitive at Daytona,” Busch said. “We’ll participate in the test down there in January to get a good handle on our Daytona 500 car, but also to win another Budweiser Shootout.

“Christmas came early for me this year, and I honestly can’t wait for the season to begin.”

The 33-year-old Busch has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup six times since the inception of the Chase in 2004, when he won the series title. His Sprint Cup championship followed the International Race of Champions (IROC) title he won in 2003. And before joining the Sprint Cup ranks in late 2000, Busch was the 1999 NASCAR Southwest Tour champion, where at age 21, he was the youngest driver to win that series’ championship. Originally from Las Vegas, Busch now makes his home in Mooresville, N.C.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, December 22 2011
3 Comments

3 Comments »

  • Richard Moore says:

    Wow only Kurt would think this is the best place for him, after turning down all those other great teams he says.
    Only HE would think WE beleive he left the 22 team instead of getting the boot.
    People that can not tell the truth like this should be running for public office, can he drive a race car YES !
    SO WHAT!!!!! I would have more respect if he would just tell the truth( I lost my ride because of my poor attitude toward everyone, I’m sorry I will work hard to improve this with whomever I work with next.) simple!
    TODAY,,,, I want to thank the 51 team for giving me a chance to continue driving in NASCAR I will work hard everyday to improve myself and this team, I apologie to my fans for my poor sportsmanship last year and hope they will follow me with this new team, I will work hard everyday to better myself and my new team and prove your loyalty is respected by me. Simple! But no we still get spin makes me question any changes in him will happen.

  • john says:

    lol, nothing left for Kurt but the dregs, now…

    But, he’ll get a smattering of top 10s here and there, better than the car was doing, probably.

    • John Sturbin says:

      If Kurt really is so sure his association with Phoenix Racing is such a wonderful “fresh air” opportunity…why doesn’t he follow Tony Stewart’s example and partner-up with James Finch? Stewart’s decision to bring his expertise and enthusiasm to Gene Haas’ heretofore struggling organization paid off with the 2011 Cup championship. And Brother Kyle Busch certainly has shown some unexpected business savvy as Truck Series team-owner/driver. Assuming that Kurt has similar cash reserves…why not take the ownership plunge? That way, the next guy that fires him will be… Kurt Busch.