Busch Leaves Roush For Penske

Kurt Busch has asked to be released from Roush Racing as the defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion announced he has a contract in place to join a new team in 2007, which will be the Penske South Miller Lite Dodge.

The news sent shockwaves through the NASCAR community. Busch informed Roush officials of the deal Tuesday morning and asked to be released from his current contract, which runs through the 2006 season.

"Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on that request will be made for an indefinite period," said a Roush statement. "Roush Racing will have no further comment at this time."

Busch currently stands fifth in this year's points race, 277 points behind leader Tony Stewart.

Penske released an announcement Tuesday afternoon saying the team has signed Busch to take over driving duties for its No. 2 Dodge.

Team owner Jack Roush signed Jamie McMurray to replace Mark Martin, who is retiring after this season, but that deal won't happen until McMurray fulfills his current contract with Chip Ganassi, which runs through 2006. Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are the other NEXTEL Cup drivers in Roush's current stable.

Car owner Roger Penske has been searching for a replacement for Rusty Wallace, who will retire at the end of the season. Busch will join Ryan Newman and Travis Kvapil as Penske teammates.

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