Phoenix Racing will not attend the first day of NASCAR testing at Pocono Raceway on Wednesday. But that had always been the plan as Kurt Busch is scheduled to race Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway in the Prelude to the Dream — Tony Stewart’s charity race benefiting Feed the Children.
Busch was also scheduled to be in the team’s entry at Pocono this weekend. But that was before he was suspended by NASCAR earlier this week because of his comments to a reporter after last weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll felt the crew’s time would be better spent Wednesday working in the shop and that the team could concentrate on the full-day test on Thursday, before the weekend’s events.
David Reutimann, who is substituting for Busch in the No. 51 Chevrolet while Busch serves his suspension after a rancorous exchange with a reporter, was fitted for his seat Wednesday morning. The team’s hauler was expected to pull out of its Spartanburg, SC, shop on Wednesday afternoon.
“We kind of got an insert put in there so it should be OK,” Reutimann said. “They use carbon seats in the cars, but we’re about out of time and there wasn’t time to replace it. So it made more sense to get one of the older inserts and kind of carve it down to where it fits me. They’re just trying to get caught up at this point and get on the road."
Busch’s motorcoach was parked in the owner/driver lot, but the 2004 Sprint Cup champ is not expected at the track this weekend.
Team owner James Finch has a meeting scheduled with Busch on Tuesday to discuss his future with the team. Finch said Monday that from this point forward he expects Busch’s status to be determined on a week-to-week basis.
For now, Reutimann is just happy to fill in.
“All James promised me is this race at Pocono," Reutimann said, "and that’s really all we talked about.
“Timing-wise it’s probably good to have the test to practice and get used to being around each other, learn some stuff and figure things out. But they’re a good group of guys. This is the first time I’ve been down to Phoenix Racing, and I was really impressed with the shop. I can’t wait to get to the track on Thursday. I’m looking forward to turning some laps.”