Busch extends Penske deal
Ex-champ gets new sponsor and number
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Kurt Busch is staying put with Penske Racing.
Busch signed a contract extension to continue driving for Penske Racing in the same week the former Cup champion got a new sponsor. Busch said team owner Roger Penske held an option on 2011 that had already been picked up. But when Shell Oil Co. this week moved its sponsorship to Penske, the driver agreed to a new contract.
Busch said on Friday his new contract is a five-year deal.
“I definitely look to have my career end here at Penske Racing,” Busch said at Talladega Superspeedway. “Hopefully, that’s 10-15 years down the road.”
The 2004 NASCAR champion said he considered scenarios with other teams, but didn’t speak to any other organizations because he’d like to end his career with Penske Racing.
Busch has driven the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge since 2006, when he first joined Penske. Penske is shifting its Miller Lite sponsorship and the No. 2 Dodge to Brad Keselowski next season.
“You’re the name and image of the brand associated on the motorsports side of it, which was a great feeling to have,” Busch said. “Those ties aren’t cut; I’ll still be with those guys.”
Busch will switch his number to 22. He said Shell/Penzoil made his involvement in the car next season mandatory for a deal to happen.
“That was really the only option that they gave us,” Busch said. “So it didn’t fit for Brad. It didn’t fit for Sam (Hornish Jr.).”
ExxonMobil announced this week it is ending its relationship with Penske after this season. Mobil 1 sponsors Hornish’s car with Penske, which is working to line up a new deal for Hornish and remain a three-car team.
Busch said he believed Hornish would remain with Penske Racing.
“What I hope happens in the upcoming months is that a secure sponsor comes to allow him to sign a multiyear deal and move forward,” he said. “That way we can put all of that behind us in the summer months and be ready to rip in 2011.”
Busch is ninth in the points standings and trying to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship after finishing fourth last year.
“There’s still so much potential, blue sky, and so much fun that we can have together,” he said.
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