News & Media

Busch returns to Finch's No. 51 car after suspension

June 21, 2012, David Caraviello,

In the end, it came down to what brought James Finch and Kurt Busch together in the first place -- they're both old-school racers.

And that's evidently enough to keep them together now, in the wake of a suspension that forced Busch to miss last weekend's Sprint Cup event at Pocono Raceway. Car owner Finch met with his driver Tuesday, and issued a statement saying the two will continue to move forward together.

"We have met with Kurt. At the end of the day, we are racers so we're going racing together with Kurt and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet," Finch said. "We know adjustments have to be made but how we fix that is between Kurt and myself. We're going to go to the track, work hard, race hard and work on trying to attract a sponsor -- and we're going to do that together."

All of which means Busch will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 this week when activities begin at Michigan International Speedway, which opens with a test session on the track's new surface Thursday. Busch was suspended by NASCAR for 10 days for verbally accosting a reporter following the Nationwide Series race June 2 at Dover International Speedway. The rant was caught on tape by Speed Channel. David Reutimann drove the No. 51 car in Busch's absence last week at Pocono.

Later, the 2004 Cup Series champion issued a statement saying he accepted NASCAR's decision, and also apologized to the reporter involved. Busch was already on probation for a pitroad incident involving Ryan Newman and members of the No. 39 team following the May 12 Sprint Cup event at Darlington Raceway, a probation that NASCAR has since extended through the end of the year.

Busch agreed to a one-year handshake deal with Finch's Phoenix Racing team after splitting from Penske Racing late last season. Although the new ride lacked full sponsorship and was a clear step down from what the 24-time race winner was used to, he looked forward to working with a kindred spirit. "It's going to be old-school racing," Busch said then. And evidently, that's enough to keep them together now.

Watch highlights from Kurt Busch's 2012 season