Finch confirms sale of Phoenix Racing
Phoenix Racing owner James Finch confirmed Thursday night that he has sold his team — though he would not disclose to whom.
“Been there a long time,” said Finch, who has competed in NASCAR for the last 23 seasons.
“It was time to do something different. Got to get off of the Ferris wheel and let a new generation come in.”
Although Finch elected not to divulge the names of the new owners, FOX Sports reported on June 29 that Harry Scott, co-owner of Turner Scott Motorsports, will partner with a group that also includes current sponsor Brandt, which supports the racing efforts of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier, to buy the team.
Brandt is an agricultural retailer and manufacturer based in Springfield, Ill., and has backed Allgaier since 2011. The 27-year-old Riverton, Ill. native, who is currently fourth in the NNS standings, is expected to drive the No. 51 Chevy over the final 10 races of the season.
Brandt’s media representative, Rod Riech, told FOX Sports that he had heard similar rumors but could not confirm the company’s participation in the acquisition.
Although this weekend’s NNS race at Chicagoland Speedway is just a few hours from Brandt’s headquarters, Riech said he did not anticipate an announcement at the track.
Finch will remain as a consultant through the end of the year. He added that his 18 employees also will stay with the new company.
While AJ Allmendinger was expected to compete in six of the final seven races for Phoenix Racing, Finch said he wanted the opportunity to continue “showcasing the talent” of aspiring NASCAR racers as well.
Australian Owen Kelly, 36, who finished fourth at Elkhart Lake in the Nationwide Series Road America race on June 22 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, will make his Cup debut in the No. 51 Chevy at Watkins Glen on Aug. 11. Ryan Truex, 21, was scheduled to make his Cup debut with Phoenix at Dover prior to breaking his shoulder blade on March 31. Finch plans on running Truex at Bristol on Aug. 24.
Finch, who offered Allmendinger his first ride after Allmendinger completed NASCAR’s Road to Recovery, insists, “I’ll still be around.”
He’s not ruling out running limited events out of the current shop given the right opportunity.
“With AJ’s talent, I don’t have to help him showcase his talent because he does that on his own,” Finch said. “I was impressed with what Owen did at Road America, and Ryan deserves a second chance. His father (Martin Truex Sr.) and I used to race together. Bristol will make an interesting track to make a debut. I told him, ‘You better get your (butt) ready.’ ”