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NASCAR's Kurt Busch signs with Phoenix Racing

December 22, 2011 |  3:01 pm


Former champion Kurt Busch said Thursday he plans to drive for the small team of Phoenix Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year.

Busch, 33, was seeking a new ride because he parted ways with Penske Racing after a tumultuous 2011 season. Penske this week said A.J. Allmendinger would replace Busch in the No. 22 Penske Dodge.

Phoenix Racing, owned by James Finch, fields the No. 51 Chevrolet that mostly was driven by 22-year-old Landon Cassill this year. The team has one Sprint Cup victory to its credit, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in 2009 with Brad Keselowski at the wheel. Keselowski now drives for Penske as well.

"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, who won the Cup title in 2004, in a statement. Finch said "with Kurt Busch as our driver, we have a shot to win every week."

Busch has 24 Cup victories in his career, including two this last season. He also qualified for NASCAR's Chase for the Cup title playoff this year and finished 11th in the standings.

But the end of his season was marred when Busch was caught on camera making several profanity-laced comments as he waited impatiently for a live interview with an ESPN pit reporter at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


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--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch during practice Oct. 21 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images