James Buescher left Phoenix Racing's Nationwide Series team last Wednesday to go drive for Turner Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. Buescher wasn't doing all that well in the Nationwide Series, and given that Buescher is engaged to the daughter of Steve Turner, the owner of Turner Motorsports, it was a no-brainer that he'd end up there.
And it wasn't that much of a surprise that a driver left Phoenix Racing, as owner James Finch has cycled through drivers as much as Jose Canseco has cycled steroids. Brad Keselowski won for Finch at Talladega, but that was through a satellite contract with Hendrick Motorsports to get Keselowski seat time. Mike Bliss drove the Phoenix Nationwide car last year, was fired at the beginning of August, but returned to Phoenix for the Nationwide finale, all while remaining Phoenix's regular Cup driver.
Finch hired Aric Almirola to drive the No. 09 car in the Cup series, but when Bliss became available after parting with Tommy Baldwin Racing, Bliss became the Cup driver again for Phoenix.
Anyway, Buescher's departure comes at an odd time given Phoenix Racing General Manager Marc Reno's comments after Ryan Newman got Phoenix Racing a second-place finish at Dover on Saturday.
Finch has said his team for sale, but Reno said Finch originallyplanned to sell the Nationwide Series operation to Steve Turner, ownerof the Turner Motorsports Camping World Truck Series team and father toBuescher’s fiancé.
“It all started a few weeks ago or a month ago when he offered tosell the (Nationwide) team to Steve Turner,” Reno said. “Well, then thepress picked up on it and the Internet got a hold of it, and all of asudden it turned into, ‘It’s wide open for a sale.’
“(Finch is) pretty down on the (Nationwide) Series right now. Hedoesn’t think that a lot of the things they’re doing are productive forthis series. But we’re building five of those new cars, so if he’squitting, I don’t know why we’re doing that.”
To recap: Finch may or may not have a deal with Turner, but Buescher is Turner's driver and he just left Finch's team, so at least on the surface, it looks like the deal is off, even though Reno didn't say such.
Reno also said that Phoenix Racing -- a mainstay in the Nationwide Series -- may be going to a partial schedule in the near future, a likely result of the Miccosukee decision to leave motorsports.
But it's important to remember that this is James Finch we're talking about. It wouldn't be that much of a shock if Finch left NASCAR altogether or announced that he was going to field a four-car team tomorrow.