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Ragan to replace Busch? UPDATE #3 See related rumor that has Ragan possibly going to RPM to replace Allmendinger.

12/10/11 David Ragan has met with Penske Racing officials about replacing Kurt Busch. Busch's future could hinge on whether Ragan is hired. James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Racing, said he had a deal with Ragan to drive the #51 Chevy next season subject "to him getting a better deal.'' That possibility happened on Monday when Busch was released by Penske Racing, leaving the #22 with sponsor Shell Pennzoil open. Finch told ESPN.com on Friday that Ragan contacted him on Thursday to say he met with Roger Penske in Detroit and planned to meet next week with Shell Pennzoil officials. Ragan confirmed he met with Penske and other officials and planned to "follow up next week." Meanwhile, Finch said Busch contacted him about driving for his Spartanburg, S.C. -based organization. "I told him I'd meet with him and see what's going on,'' Finch said. "I haven't decided who I am going to put in my car next year. He wasn't necessarily at the top of the list." Finch said Busch's behavior that led to what was described as a "mutual'' split with Penske Racing wouldn't discourage him from hiring the 2004 Cup champion. He also said he wouldn't tolerate Busch's sometimes volatile behavior. "Kurt, his talent is pretty good,'' Finch said. "He's one of the best there is, but I'm not going to listen to that s--- and pay him money."  ESPN

David Ragan
This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  David Ragan was given his release from Roush Fenway Racing on Monday, opening the door for him to possibly replace 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch at Penske Racing.

Ragan said he asked for his release Monday morning, after learning that Busch and Penske Racing had mutually agreed to split. He then talked to Penske Racing president Tim Cindric to express an interest in the vacant No. 22 ride.

"I want to be in consideration for that car," Ragan said.

Ragan said he had been disappointed when UPS informed Roush Fenway during the season that it was not returning to the No. 6 car as a sponsor.

"Sometimes crazy things happen for a reason. I feel I've got a good shot to have a sit-down talk with the guys at Penske," Ragan said. "We haven't discussed that, but I have reached out to them and hopefully later on in the next week or two we'll have more to talk about."

Although Ragan didn't have a Sprint Cup Series ride with RFR for 2012, he remained under contract until he was given the release. The move now clears him to pursue the Penske opening, as well as other potential vacancies in Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series.

"I wanted to be able to say with complete confidence I was available when I told some other teams I've spoken to that I could come race for them next year," Ragan said. "I'm very grateful for what Jack (Roush) and those guys have done for my career.

"I just felt like it was time for a change and to move on."

12/05/11 Speculation points to David Ragan as the leading candidate to replace Kurt Busch at Penske Racing after reports are he has been fired. Ragan spent the 2011 season with Roush Fenway Racing, but his future has been in doubt since the team lost sponsorship for next season. He earned his first career Sprint Cup victory this season, at Daytona International Speedway.

Other candidates for the job include David Reutimann and Brian Vickers - two drivers who drove in the Sprint Cup Series this past season but are without a ride for 2012 - and Sam Hornish Jr., who has previously driven for Penske at the Sprint Cup level. FoxSports
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