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DATE News (chronologically)
12/23/11
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Kurt Busch To Join Phoenix Racing UPDATE #2
Kurt Busch
"I just want to get back to having fun in the racecar." Those were the words spoken by Kurt Busch just a few days after the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. Today, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion is well on his way toward that simple goal as he's teamed with Phoenix Racing to run the full 2012 Sprint Cup schedule. "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 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, celebrated 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. 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."

Busch will drive the #51 Phoenix Racing Chevy 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  True Speed Communication / Phoenix Racing

12/23/11 Phoenix Racing General manager Steve Barkdoll said Busch has a one-year deal to drive the car, which finished 30th in points last season with Landon Cassill driving most of the 36-race schedule. He agreed that Finch won't tolerate Busch's behavior, adding the deal will be good for both sides. "I talked to Kurt a few times," Barkdoll said. "He just wants to get back to where he's having fun again and earn his respect back again. If you ask anybody in the garage where you can have the most fun, it's racing for James Finch." Nick Harrison will serve as Busch's crew chief for the organization that has 18 employees. Because Phoenix Racing gets its engines and chassis from Hendrick Motorsports, it is considered one of the best rides without a big-time driver. "Kurt needed a good ride and with Hendrick Motorsports behind us we can give him one,'' Barkdoll said. ESPN

12/22/11 Kurt Busch will drive the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing in 2012.

“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.”

Said Finch: “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."
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