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Defending champion Kurt Busch leaving Roush Racing


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Reigning Nextel Cup champion Kurt

Busch told Roush Racing he has signed with another racing

team for 2007 and has asked to be released from his 2006

contract, Roush said Tuesday.


It was not immediately clear who Busch has signed with,

although Penske and Dale Earnhardt Inc. both have cars coming

open next season.


Busch currently stands fifth in this year's points race,

277 points behind leader Tony Stewart.


Busch is one of five drivers currently racing in the

Nextel Cup for Roush. The others are Mark Martin, Matt

Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.


Source: AP

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Reigning Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch has signed a

contract to drive for Penske Racing South in 2007 and asked

to be released from his current contract with Roush Racing,

apparently in hopes of replacing retiring Rusty Wallace next



??Yeah, we have signed him up for 2007,'' Penske team

president Don Miller told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

??As for anything else, the lawyers tell us we can't really

comment. We'll just have to see how things shake out.


??Kurt Busch is a great driver and Ryan (Newman) said he

is looking forward to having him as a teammate and working

with him.''


Newman is the current teammate of Wallace, the 1989 series

champion, who is retiring at the end of the 2005 season,

leaving a vacant seat in the No. 2 Dodge.


Penske put out a statement saying Busch had signed a

long-term contract.


In its own statement, Roush said the team will wait for

??an indefinite period'' before making a decision on Busch's

request to leave after this season. The team said it would

have no additional comment on the split.


Roush is in much the same situation as the Penske team,

with Jamie McMurray, currently driving for Chip Ganassi

Racing, signed for 2007 to replace Mark Martin, who is

planning to retire at the end of this season.


Ganassi has an option on McMurray in 2006 and has insisted

he will not be let out of his contract. That leaves the No. 6

Ford without a driver for 2006, although Martin has said he

would consider staying for another year if Jack Roush, his

longtime boss, needs him.


But Wallace, a part owner of the Penske team along with

Roger Penske and Miller, has said repeatedly this will be his

final year in the driver's seat.


Busch stands fifth in this year's points race, 277 points

behind leader Tony Stewart. After a slow start to his Cup

defense, he has finished in the top 10 in five of his past

six races, including Sunday's 10th-place finish in the

Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis.


With victories this season at Pocono and Phoenix, Busch

seems a solid bet to be among the top 10 drivers in the

points standings when NASCAR resets the field for its 10-race

Chase for the Championship following the Sept. 10 race in

Richmond, Va.


Busch has been with Roush since 2000, when Jack Roush

hired him to drive in the Craftsman Truck Series.


He won four races that year and finished second in the

points standings, leading Roush to move him straight to

NASCAR's top series without the traditional intermediate stop

on the second-tier Busch Series.


He won his first Cup race in 2002 and had four wins that

season. For his Cup career, Bush has 13 wins in 171 starts.


Busch is one of five drivers racing in the Nextel Cup

series for Roush. The others are Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth,

Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.


Busch, who turned 27 last week, was the third-youngest

champion in NASCAR history when he won the title last season.


He recently said he felt his team was poised to make a run

for back-to-back titles, something no one has done since Jeff

Gordon in 1997 and 1998.


??We're up to the challenge again,'' Busch said. ??At this

point in the season, everybody feels a little bit of pressure

to lay the hammer down a little bit harder.''


Busch has a history of feuds with rival drivers ? Jimmy

Spencer punched him in the nose in 2003 ? and run-ins with

NASCAR officials.


Earlier this year, after a tantrum at Darlington that

included expletives directed at NASCAR officials over his

in-car radio, Busch was placed on unofficial probation by

NASCAR and given notice that the sanctioning body would

tolerate no more bad behavior.


Source: AP

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Rusty has been my favorite driver since I was 2 or 3 and sick all the time and thus forced to watch NASCAR on ESPN at about 3 AM each night (this was 88 and/or 89). Im stuck wondering who the hell to root for, and I know itll never be the same.


If Busch takes over his car does that mean I should root for him much like Earnhardters started rooting for Harvick and the intimidators offspring? Do I pick out another guy based on car number (my 5 favorites are 7,9,13,21 & 27- Rustys original number)? Im at a loss. Anyone else gone through this?


I yousta root for Ayrton Senna in F1 before he died tragically and Ive never really payed attention to it since, although mostly cause of Schumacher.


basically....little help if anyone out there cares about NASCAR or auto-racing. Im not the biggest fan, but I do pay attention.

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