Kurt Busch will move to Furniture Row Racing for the 2013 Sprint Cup season, replacing Regan Smith in the No. 78 Chevrolet.
Busch is winless with two top 10s and ranked 25th in points
with Phoenix Racing, which signed the 2004 champion to a one-year
contract in December. He delivered a third at Sonoma in June, the
underfunded team's first top five in more than three years. Team owner
James Finch has run Busch's No. 51 Chevy full-time despite lacking a
sponsor for the majority of the season.
Busch won at least one race in 10 consecutive seasons in NASCAR's
premier series with Roush Fenway Racing (2002-05) and Penske Racing
(2006-11), which he left after several altercations with the news media.
He served a one-race suspension in June for berating a reporter.
The Las Vegas native has scored 24 wins, 89 top fives, 171 top
10s and 15 pole positions in 427 Sprint Cup starts and also qualified
for the Chase six times in the past nine seasons.
"Furniture Row Racing has the commitment, talent and resources
to compete at a high level in the Sprint Cup Series," Busch said in a
statement. "I have watched with admiration on how this team has grown
over the years and that is why I am excited about the opportunity as I
eagerly look forward to a new chapter in my racing career."
Busch was under consideration by other teams in the garage, but
lack of sponsorship was an impediment. Team owner Richard Childress
said he would add Busch in a fourth car if he had the funding.
Smith, who scored Furniture Row's lone victory in the 2011
Southern 500, was ranked 23rd in points this season with two top 10s.
"Though we have made strides as a resourceful
single-car Sprint Cup team, we are not where we want to be," Furniture
Row Racing general manager Joe Garone said in a statement. "Kurt's
exceptional driving talent has the capacity to take a team to another
level. We look forward to having Kurt join our Denver-based organization
and feel his racing experience will play an important role as we plan
ahead to 2013.
driver the past four years, Regan has represented Furniture Row Racing
with both class and competitiveness. He will always be a friend of
Furniture Row Racing."