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Three-team deal with Busch, McMurray close UPDATE #4 Expect to see #97-Kurt Busch and #42-Jamie McMurray be released from their respective contracts with Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi in short order. That’s the word from Roush, who said Friday he figures the deal to send McMurray to Roush’s #97 and Busch to Roger Penske’s #2 Dodge to be completed very soon. “I think that if Jamie and Kurt are going to be mutually released — and I would put it in that order — then I think it’s very close to the time that’s going to happen,” Roush said. None of the remaining Silly Season dominos, most notably who will replace McMurray in Ganassi’s #42 Dodge next season, were resolved on Friday, but could be before the weekend is out. Speed Channel

Jack Roush said yesterday afternoon that an agreement still hadn't been reached in the three-way negotiations to move Jamie McMurray to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske in 2006. The deal, which also would send an unnamed driver to Chip Ganassi Racing to replace McMurray, has been in the works for weeks and was reported done by ESPN on Monday. Richmond Times Dispatch

Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray still don't know if they will be driving for new teams next year. The anticipated swap of drivers involving three teams isn't done. If a deal is done, the changes are these: Busch will leave Roush Racing and drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge next season, replacing Rusty Wallace. McMurray will replace Busch for Jack Roush. And someone – possibly Bobby Labonte or Ricky Rudd – will replace McMurray in the #42 Havoline Dodge. "Ultimately it's Jack's decision if we want to separate and move on," Busch said. "If we can work out all the details, great." Jack Roush said he isn't sure everything will get resolved. "I don't have a drop-dead date," he said. "Geoff Smith [team president] is handling those negotiations, and he said it needs to be done quickly." Roush was asked if he and Busch had spoken recently. "I haven't had a conversation with Kurt of any consequence since he told me he wanted to be released from his contract for 2006. I'm immune to frustration when it comes to Kurt Busch." Dallas Morning News.

11/01/05 You get the feeling a formal announcement could come at any time, however Roush Racing President Geoff Smith denies reports a deal has been cut between car owners Jack Roush, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi involving the early release of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Smith said “The fiction is the deal is done and the fact is the deal is not done. All the parties are working to try to have a solution that’s acceptable to everyone and we’re still a few pieces short although everyone is working in good faith trying to make it happen. My feeling is that we are at a 70-75% probability that it’s going to be done, but there are about twelve moving pieces and every single piece is conditioned on another. They all have to close or the whole thing unwinds.” PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show

11/01/05 Jamie McMurray has not been released from his 2006 contract commitments at this time. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR 11/01/05 ESPN's Mike Massacre is reporting that Roush Racing has released 2004 Nextel Cup Champ #97 Kurt Busch from his 2006 contract obligations, allowing Busch to go to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge that Rusty Wallace will be retiring from at the end of 2005. Massaro is reporting that Jamie McMurray has been released from his 2006 Ganassi Racing contract to drive the #42 Texaco Dodge, allowing him to go to Roush Racing, taking over for Busch in the #97/#28 car or whatever number they will use.

10/28/05 Answers to pressing questions heading into Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway by USA TODAY's Chris Jenkins

Q: Are the Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray contract deals any closer?

A: Yes. Now that team owner Chip Ganassi apparently has softened his stand against releasing McMurray from his contract one year early to join Roush Racing next season, the de facto three-way trade — McMurray to Roush, Busch to Penske, suitcases full of cash to Ganassi — could happen soon.

Roush has always been willing to let Busch go to Penske a year early, provided the team gets another driver to take his place next season (preferably McMurray). And Roush Racing president Geoff Smith says he has convinced the No. 97 team's sponsors to extend their deadline for having a driver made final for next season. "My probability meter has gone from 2% to probably 50-50," Smith said. USA Today

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