The dominoes are starting to fall for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup series season. Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has been released from his contract with the No. 97 Ford allowing him to take the helm of the No. 2 Dodge next year. "We...
The dominoes are starting to fall for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup series season. Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has been released from his contract with the No. 97 Ford allowing him to take the helm of the No. 2 Dodge next year.
"We are pleased that Kurt and Roush Racing were able to reach an agreement on Kurt's release and appreciate the professionalism that it has taken to arrive at this result," said Roger Penske, chairman. "Kurt's joining us for 2006 will provide a smooth transition for the team and our sponsors."
In conjunction, Jamie McMurray has been released from his obligations at Ganassi Racing in the No. 42 Dodge to be able to pilot the No. 97 Ford vacated by Busch next year. As expected, Mark Martin will remain with the organization another year until Todd Kleuver is ready to move to the Cup level in 2006.
Casey Mears will take over the No. 42 Dodge next year as Reed Sorenson moves into the No. 41 Dodge.
"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to drive the Texaco/Havoline Dodge next season," said Mears. "Texaco/Havoline has been a sponsor in this sport for a long time and they've had an impressive list of drivers compete and win in their cars. I look forward to joining that group and taking them and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates back to Victory Lane."
Amongst other high profile moves: Bobby Labonte and Joe Gibbs Racing announced that they will end their 11-year relationship in the No. 18 Chevy at the end of the year.
"I regret to say that this is the final year that I will be at Joe Gibbs Racing," Labonte said. "One of the things that made this decision so difficult was thinking of all the fans that have supported me at JGR throughout the past 11 years. This relationship has lasted a long time, and I hate that it has to end. Joe Gibbs and his family gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I want to thank them and all the employees at JGR, for 11 years of hard work.
"I will always cherish the times at JGR, and the only thing that I regret is that we didn't win more races and or championships. I wish everyone at JGR continued success in the future and I want to thank J.D. (Gibbs, president of JGR) for giving me the chance to be released from my contract early and letting me pursue other opportunities."
Labonte has been rumored to have signed a multi-year deal to drive the No. 43 Dodge at Petty Enterprises starting next season in a car crew-chiefed by Robbie Loomis.