News & Media

Phoenix Racing committed to finishing season

September 30, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM,

DOVER, Del. -- Smith, Allmendinger among drivers owner Finch is interested in for No. 51 car

Kurt Busch's impending departure leaves James Finch's No. 51 Phoenix Racing team with a high degree of uncertainty.

Despite speculation to the contrary, crew chief Nick Harrison said the team was committed to running the remainder of this season's Sprint Cup schedule.

"We still have Dover and Talladega with Kurt and really think we can end with a win."


"We're business as usual, moving forward," Harrison said. "We still have Dover and Talladega with Kurt and really think we can end with a win. We're running the full season. It's just a [matter of] who is going to drive."

Harrison says Phoenix Racing has spoken to Regan Smith, the driver Busch will replace for the final six weeks this season in Furniture Row Racing's No. 78 car. Finch also is said to have interest in recently reinstated driver AJ Allmendinger as well as David Reutimann, who filled in at Pocono when Busch was suspended for a week this season.

"With no sponsor on the car, we're definitely looking to see if there's a driver out there who might bring a sponsorship opportunity," Harrison said. "It's sad to say, but this is what it's down to [given the economics of the sport]."

For Harrison, who teamed with Busch for a Nationwide Series victory in July at Daytona, it's nothing new to team with a new driver midstream. He's been crew chief for eight different Sprint Cup drivers during the past three years.

"It's all business," Harrison said. "This is not, 'Hey, [Kurt] left you guys hanging.' He's just shifted gears, and you have to respect that on a business level.

"That 78 team is one of the hardest-working groups in the garage, along with us and some of the other single-car teams. I love Kurt like a brother. He's been real good to me personally and real good to me on a working relationship. I wish him the best, and we're going to try to outrun him [the last six races] with whoever we replace him with."

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Through next week at Talladega, however, Phoenix Racing will attempt to win with Busch behind the wheel.

"Kurt's a winning driver, and I hope like hell we can go to Talladega and keep his streak of winning every year he's been in Sprint Cup racing alive," Harrison said.

Busch has two top-10 Cup finishes this season, most recently a third in June at Sonoma.

Finch's No. 51 car sits 27th in owners' points, 46 points from 26th but 67 points ahead of BK Racing's No. 93 entry.