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Long-time owner ending NASCAR run?
NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner James Finch has a letter of intent that takes effect on July 15 for the sale of Phoenix Racing.
“I have a date where I am either going to sell my stuff or either park it a week or two later,” Finch said by phone Saturday morning. “Hopefully, the people will take the team and I can help them move forward.”
Turner-Scott Motorsports co-owner Harry Scott Jr. has been mentioned as the interested party. The move to purchase Phoenix makes sense as both organizations are clients of Hendrick Motorsports and receive engines from the NASCAR powerhouse.
Requests to speak with Scott through TSM team public relations representatives went unanswered.
Sources close to the deal say that TSM driver Justin Allgaier would drive the car with sponsor Brandt once the transaction was complete. On Friday, Allgaier said his name has been brought up for potential Cup rides in 2014 but would not elaborate.
Finch said he “would be involved the rest of the year and then transfer the points next season." He insists that July 28 — after the Brickyard 400 — is “when I stop spending my own money” on the team. That date applies whether the team sells or not.
However, there’s the chance that Phoenix Racing would, in the future, run select Nationwide Series races, which is where Finch’s career as an owner began.
Finch has owned Phoenix Racing since 1989 and has competed primarily in the Cup and Nationwide series. He currently employs “around 18 people” at the Spartanburg, S.C.-based shop. Some workers, including his car chief and team engineer, have already relocated. Finch says that AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 51 for the last three races — Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis — he plans to compete as an owner and then any driver decisions beyond that would be up to the new owners.
According to Finch, the team would continue to operate out of Spartanburg, at least until the end of the season. Sources say a possible plan for TSM co-owner Steve Turner to move his organization's Camping World Truck Series operation out of Texas and incorporate the Cup and Nationwide series teams with it under one roof in Mooresville, N.C., is also a possibility.
Notes: Phoenix Racing will run the double-header at Daytona International Speedway next weekend, where Kurt Busch will drive in the Nationwide race in an attempt to defend his victory in the Firecracker 250. In keeping with the racing movie theme established with the "Talladega Nights" paint scheme last year, Phoenix Racing will carry City Chevrolet on the No. 1 Chevy a la "Days of Thunder."
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