Passing the baton: Busch will take over for Smith. (LAT photo)
Furniture Row Racing announced Monday that Kurt Busch has been hired to drive the team's No. 78 Chevrolet in the 2013 Sprint Cup season. The former NASCAR Cup champion will replace Regan Smith, who jhas raced for the team since 2009.
“Though we have made strides as a resourceful single-car Sprint Cup team, we are not where we want to be, which led us to the difficult decision of making a driver change as we move forward,” said Furniture Row Racing's general manager Joe Garone. “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.”
"Furniture Row Racing has the commitment, talent and resources to compete at a high level in the Sprint Cup Series,” said Busch. "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 has won 24 times in the Sprint Cup and has qualified for the Chase on six occasions, but this year his success has been limited to the Nationwide Series. He claimed victory at Richmond for Kyle Busch Motorsports in May before winning for Phoenix Racing at Daytona two months later.
In the Sprint Cup meanwhile his best result so far is a third place at Sonoma, where he won with Penske last year. He currently lies 25th in the championship, two spots behind Furniture Row's departing Smith.
Smith has been at the wheel of the team's No. 78 car since 2009, claiming its first victory last year at Darlington but finishing only 26th in the standings. This year he has scored two top-10 finishes.