NASCAR fans who will be looking for Kurt Busch during upcoming races might not recognize the racer with his new team. When the driver looks down in his racecar in his upcoming race, he'll see a different team name on his car floor mats, as he recently switched from the No. 51 Chevrolet of Phoenix team to the No. 78 Chevy of Furniture Row Racing.
Both of the single-car teams have engine and technical support from an established Sprint Cup team. They also have one career victory on NASCAR's premier circuit and are separated by one spot in the points standings, but Busch decided that the move was necessary, making his third move in three years.
Some believe that Busch is making a lateral move by switching to the Furniture Row Racing team, but the driver said those assertions are a "slap in the face" to his new team and he believes he made the best move for himself.
"This is a partnership that puts two programs together, such as myself and Furniture Row, on the same page to move the needle," Busch said Friday before practice at Dover International Speedway. "When you get into the Chase, you have teams that have the highest level driver, highest level pit crew, highest level engineering support, engines and everything else. That's what Furniture Row has. It's a diamond in the rough. This program is undiscovered, and they have not reached their full potential."
Busch will have two more races for Phoenix before he moves to the Furniture Row team for the final six races of the season.
Busch signed with the Phoenix team in the offseason after leaving Penske Racing following multiple altercations with reporters, but believes he can restore the fun in the sport with his recent move.
Even though Busch has not yet made his move to the Furniture Row Racing team, he commented on whether he will be with the team in the season following the next.
"I might not need to test the waters of the free agent market," he said. "It's a matter of finding the comfort zone. Taking this step back this year has allowed me to see how more of the integral part of the sport works."
Busch added that it has been refreshing to see perspectives from different angles and he feels much better as he prepared to race for a new team.
The racer has won the 2004 Sprint Cup championship, 2003 IROC Championship and was awarded the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the year.