Sprint Cup, Nationwide owner hopes to complete transaction by mid-July
SPARTA, Ky. — James Finch may not be a NASCAR team owner for very much longer, but that doesn’t mean the organization he founded is going away.
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Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll on Friday confirmed a report in a Florida newspaper that said Finch has found a prospective buyer for his race team, and hopes to have the transaction complete by mid-July. Finch has fielded cars in NASCAR’s top two divisions since 1989, winning one Sprint Cup Series race in 2009 with Brad Keselowski at Talladega Superspeedway and going to Victory Lane 13 times on the Nationwide tour, most recently with Kurt Busch last July at Daytona International Speedway.
“We’ve got a buyer, and we’re working on the final details to try and get everything buttoned up,” Barkdoll said at Kentucky Speedway, “and we hope to have something by the middle of July that will keep Phoenix Racing going forward.”
The single-car team has often struggled to find sponsorship, forcing Finch to fund the outfit from his own pocket. He said late last year that he might not continue into 2013, and he indicated earlier this season that he might get out after the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late July. Phoenix has used five different drivers so far this season, including Jacques Villeneuve last Sunday at Sonoma Raceway and Austin Dillon this weekend at Kentucky.
Barkdoll said he couldn’t specify who the buyer is, or whether they’re from inside or outside the sport. “He’s somebody who’s got money,” Finch told his hometown paper, the Panama City (Fla.) News Herald.
“I’m in negotiations with an individual to buy the team, and if he does that, I’ll let him finish out the year,” Finch added. “He’s a qualified buyer so hopefully we can make everything work.”
Finch told the newspaper that employees at the team’s shop in Spartanburg, S.C., would be notified of details next week. Meanwhile, the team continues to plan for the near-term, with Barkdoll saying AJ Allmendinger would be in the organization’s No. 51 car next month for races at Daytona, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis.
“James told us to hang in there and believe, and James and I have been working on this,” Barkdoll said. “And I feel very optimistic.”