Busch Signs With Phoenix Racing
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.3 Comments