Late Thursday the long awaited announcement of where Kurt Busch will race in 2012 came out. Busch and James Finch have agreed to a one year deal for Busch to drive the #51 car for Phoenix Racing. The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion won two races in 2011 for Penske Racing before the two sides mutually parted ways.
Both sides had expressed interest in working together for next season but Finch’s tough demeanor and the hot temper of Busch raised questions about how the two sides could function.
Finch was quoted as saying “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”
Kurt Busch gives Finch the best chane to win out of any driver who was available. In fact Busch gives Finch as good a chance to win as any driver who was looking for employment for 2012 during this past season. Busch has 24 career wins and has one a race each year dating back to 2002. In eight of those ten seasons Busch won multiple races and has won two in each of the last three seasons.
Last season Landon Cassill did a good job keeping the #51 car in the field but he was not a contender for a top-10 in most events and finished the year with a 28.8 place average finish.
Before anyone starts suggesting that Busch will not have as good of equipment this year; just remember that Finch gets his equipment from Hendrick Motorsports and considering that Tony Stewart was able to win a NASCAR championship this past season with that set up it is impossible to count Busch out this coming season.
There is also reports coming out that Busch may opt to race the full NASCAR Nationwide schedule in a car owned by his brother Kyle Busch. If true it is also possible that Kurt could choose to run for points in the Nationwide series in lieu of running for Cup points. Kurt had made the Chase six times since it’s inception in 2004.
When Busch and Penske parted ways a seat was opened to drive the #22 car. That seat was filled yesterday by AJ Allmendinger. Now that Busch has signed with Phoenix Racing, an announcement about who will drive the #43 car is expected soon. David Ragan is considered the favorite to replace the departed Allmendinger. Ragan lost his ride in the #6 at Roush Fenway Racing when the team was unable to put together sponsorship for the full season.