Perhaps all the talk about Kurt Busch settling for a mediocre-to-poor NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride next year was premature. Although not a top-level team, Richard Petty Motorsports apparently would be happy with the former Cup champion replacing A.J. Allmendinger next season in its No. 43 Fords.
A Tuesday report on Sirius Speedway Radio said RPM will consider replacing Allmendinger in order to keep Best Buy as its major sponsor. The electronics retailer waited until late in last year's off-season before signing a one-year deal to sponsor Allmendinger in 26 of 2011's 36 races.
Team official Robbie Loomis acknowledged conversations with Best Buy about having Busch drive for RPM.
“Best Buy has been a great partner for a long time,” he told the radio network, “and A.J. Allmendinger has done a fantastic job for us. He's coming off his best season yet, but I can tell you there's a lot of interest on our part in having Kurt Busch in the fold. It makes sense to have him with our team if we can make it work.
“Our main focus is to continue building on what we finished with this past season. Right now, I feel like I'm running down two different sets of train tracks. From a personal standpoint, nothing has excited me more than when I heard Kurt had become available. I'm excited about the opportunity to add a driver like him to Richard Petty Motorsports.
“I'd mortgage my house to make Kurt a part of this team. We value what he's done on the race track. He's won a [Sprint Cup] championship and worked for a first-class operation like Penske Racing. Guys like that don't come along every day.”
Allmendinger had one top-five and 10 top-10 finishes this season, and he ended the year 15th in points. Busch won twice, had eight top-fives and 16 top-10s, and was 11th in points. After six years together, he and Penske Racing agreed to end their relationship early this month following a series of on- and off-track incidents.
Penske still has not named anyone to replace Busch, though David Ragan, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers are available. If RPM signs Busch, perhaps Penske would add Allmendinger to its list.