Kurt Busch will drive the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing in 2012.
Busch put the handshake deal together with team owner James Finch on Wednesday night.
“I went to the shop, and on the Christmas tree was a sign that read, ‘All we want from Santa is a winning driver,' ” Finch said. “We will be at the Daytona test next month and start with the Shootout.”
The decision comes just weeks after Busch mutually agreed to part ways with Penske Racing. Upon his departure, Busch said he “wanted racing to be fun again”. And if Busch was looking to combine “fun” with racing, no owner can deliver on that promise better than Finch. Couple that with the benefit of Hendrick Motorsports cars and engines and Busch could be the driver that puts Phoenix Racing on the map.
The 2004 Sprint Cup champion has 24 wins -- two each in the last three years -- and has qualified for six Chase for the Sprint Cups. Busch has won a race in each of the last 10 seasons.
“I told Kurt, ‘I won’t fire you and you won’t quit. We’ll do whatever it takes -- roll in the mud if we have to to win. I’ve worked construction all my life just so I could race and have a good time. I’ve worked with iron workers, I worked with construction workers, so working with a driver is not going to be a problem.
“As I said earlier, all we want to do is win”.
Finch’s has been active in Sprint Cup racing since 1990. Phoenix Racing has one victory and three top fives in 191 starts with multiple drivers. His lone win came in April 2009 at Talladega Superspeedway with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel. Nick Harrison will continue to serve as crew chief.
Landon Cassill most recently piloted the No. 51 for Finch last season. Finch finished 30th in owner points.
So how does Kurt do in 2012? I could see a top 20 finish in poinbts at the most and them being strong on the plate tracks and road courses. But will HMS provide more info to Phoenix and work more closesly since they have an elite driver? SHR too? Either way chase is very doubtful. I heard he declined RPM not quite sure why maybe he sees something in this team that we don't.
NW: 7, 31, 3, 11, 60, 88, 12
Trucks: 9, 88, 3, 7, 17, 31
IRL: 10, 11, 12, 26, 3, 38, 27
RIP Dan Wheldon
"Fight for Four"- Annalee
You got to have a big gigantic drum kit.