Dover, DE (Sports Network) - Kurt Busch's move to Furniture Row Racing in the
Sprint Cup Series will come sooner than originally planned.
Busch, the 2004 series champion, will replace Regan Smith in Furniture Row's
No. 78 Chevrolet for the final six races this season. He will take over
driving duties for the team beginning with the Oct. 13 race at Charlotte Motor
Speedway. Smith's last race with the Furniture Row will be Oct. 7 at Talladega
Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing's general manager, and Busch made the
announcement on Friday at Dover International Speedway, the site of this
weekend's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races.
Earlier this week, Furniture Row announced that Busch had signed a contract
with the team to drive the No. 78 for the 2013 season. However, the team
decided to accelerate their preparations for next year by having Busch drive
the car at Charlotte, Kansas (Oct. 21), Martinsville (Oct. 28), Texas (Nov.
4), Phoenix (Nov. 11) and the season-finale at Homestead (Nov. 18).
"This is a partnership that puts two programs together, such as myself and
Furniture Row, on the same page to move the needle," Busch said. "We all want
to go out there and try to win races, and we want to try to compete at top
levels. You need teams, drivers and engineering support. You need all
different elements of a program to be competitive."
Busch has driven the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing since the start of
the 2012 season. It's been a turbulent year for Busch, though. The 34-year-old
driver almost lost his ride with James Finch's team after NASCAR officials
banned him from competing in the June 10 race at Pocono. Officials determined
he violated his probation when he made threatening comments to a reporter from
The Sporting News following the completion of the June 2 Nationwide Series
event at Dover. He had been on probation for an incident that occurred with
Ryan Newman's team last month at Darlington.
Busch said he is looking forward to his new ride with Furniture Row. He
referred to the Denver, Colo.-based team as "a diamond in the rough."
"This program is undiscovered, and they have not reached their full
potential," Busch noted. "I see this from Joe Garone and (team owner) Barney
Visser, and I see this from Todd Berrier, a crew chief who has been in this
sport for nearly 20 years."
Two months ago, Berrier left Bobby Labonte's No. 47 team at JTG Daugherty
Racing and moved over to Furniture Row where he replaced Pete Rondeau as crew
chief for the No. 78.
Busch has recorded 24 wins and 171 top-10 finishes in 427 starts in NASCAR's
premier series. His most recent victory came at Dover one year ago when he
drove for Penske Racing. Busch is currently 25th in the point standings.
Smith has driven for Furniture Row since 2009. He gave the team its first
Sprint Cup win in May 2011 at Darlington Raceway. Smith is presently 23rd in
points, with just two top-10 finishes for the season.
"In the progress of growing the Furniture Row team over the years, we've met
some milestones trying to get where we are at, taking advantage of
opportunities as they come up, and this is certainly an opportunity that we're
really excited to have Kurt on board moving forward here," Garone said.
Smith's contract with Furniture Row was set to expire at the end of this
season. Garone stated that his contract will be fully honored.
The Sports Network