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Phoenix Racing could be going to part-time NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule

By Lee Montgomery

DOVER, Del. – Phoenix Racing posted its best NASCAR Nationwide Series finish of the season Saturday with a second-place by Ryan Newman at Dover International Speedway.

But general manager Marc Reno said the team may cut its schedule back in upcoming races.

Rookie James Buescher left the team earlier this week, and Newman got a call about 4 p.m. on Wednesday about driving the No. 1 Chevrolet this weekend. Newman said yes, and Reno hopes he does that some more this year.

Asked if any other drivers are on the team’s radar, Reno said no and then added that the team may skip upcoming standalone races at Nashville and Kentucky.

"We’re probably going to be a did-not-show-up at Nashville," Reno said. "I would say Nashville and Kentucky and some of those places. We’ll probably run all the new-car races, maybe the road races if we can get Max (Papis) or somebody to drive – or Ryan might drive. But we’re going to cut it back to races (car owner) James (Finch) has fun at. Otherwise, he’s going to get out of here pretty quick."

Finch has said his team for sale, but Reno said Finch originally planned to sell the Nationwide Series operation to Steve Turner, owner of the Turner Motorsports Camping World Truck Series team and father to Buescher’s fiancé.

"It all started a few weeks ago or a month ago when he offered to sell the (Nationwide) team to Steve Turner," Reno said. "Well, then the press picked up on it and the Internet got a hold of it, and all of a sudden it turned into, ‘It’s wide open for a sale.’

"(Finch is) pretty down on the (Nationwide) Series right now. He doesn’t think that a lot of the things they’re doing are productive for this series. But we’re building five of those new cars, so if he’s quitting, I don’t know why we’re doing that."

Reno said Phoenix will be at the test of the new Nationwide Series car at Daytona next week, likely with Mike Bliss driving.

But Reno clearly wants Newman for his Nationwide car.

"He’s really laid-back, he’s funner than hell, really," Reni said. "He’s a real quiet guy. He doesn’t have a lot of issues at all with anything. If we can get him to drive for us a few more times and get him something that’s a little bit better – it’s going to be hard to get up to that Kyle Busch car, but we don’t know until we work a few weeks. It’d be nice to do a couple weeks with him because we’re just learning each other here.

"When he got that green-white-checkered (at Dover), he made stuff happen. He missed wrecks that we haven’t been able to miss. And he passed cars that we weren’t able to pass. It was pretty fun. It’s good for all the guys and it’s good for James. That’s what he does it for, the enjoyment. This is the first time, I think, in awhile he’s had fun."