Kurt Busch will drive Phoenix Racing's No. 51 entry for James Finch in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the team announced Thursday.
Busch gives the team a true top-flight contender for the burgeoning effort, although Landon Cassill punched above his weight at times during 2011 and registered a best finish of 12th place in Michigan. Brad Keselowski won for the team at the spring Talladega race in 2009.
Busch took to his @KurtBusch Twitter feed to provide some insight on the decision:
"Looking forward to having some fun and racing with an old school guy like James Finch. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse," Busch wrote. "I've had a lot of great offers come my way but racing with Finch was exactly what I was looking for. I needed some fun this year and an opportunity to work on things personally, racing with Finch will make that possible. The most fun I've ever had in my career was in my old southwest tour days. Finch's team reminds me of that. Old school racing is exactly what I was looking for."
The Busch family has a history with the No. 51 – Kurt's younger brother Kyle has run the number in several NASCAR Camping World Truck events before he began Kyle Busch Motorsports, running as “Rowdy Busch” in a throwback to the Days of Thunder character Rowdy Burns – who also wore No. 51.
Kurt Busch found himself unemployed from Penske Racing after displaying an obscene gesture made in-car and profanity displayed waiting for an interview from Dr. Jerry Punch, in a moment caught by a fan on a cellphone camera.