Busch Surprised By Move
June 15, 2007 | 3:29 P.M. EST
Busch looked like his future at Hendrick Motorsports was secure when team owner Rick Hendrick said he didn't have any room to add Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to his stable with four drivers under contract.
But that changed this week when Junior signed a five-year deal to join Hendrick beginning next season, essentially replacing Busch.
Busch maintains the decision for he and Hendrick to part ways was mutual, at least publicly, but there have been several reports he was completely surprised by the turn of events.
"We decided it and sat down and talked about things and decided it would be in both of our best interests to get a fresh start," he said Friday in the Michigan International Speedway media center. "I feel like it's a time where I can step away from where I've been for a few years and try to get a fresh start and see what else is out there."
Busch changed representation this week, hiring a new agent/manager to help with future negotiations with prospective teams.
And even though it's a process he wasn't expecting, Busch said he's looking forward to seeing what's available for his services.
"Actually I'm just kind of flattered and excited about all the interest and the phone calls that we've gotten," he said. "I haven't talked to any representatives from any teams. I've got people that stand behind me that do that stuff for me. When it comes down to the point where I feel like there's some people I need to talk to, we'll sit down."
There have been reports that Ray Evernham is in the mix for Busch, possibly replacing an unhappy Elliott Sadler or adding a fourth car to the Dodge stable.
That wouldn't be a problem for Busch, who has driven Chevrolets during his entire Cup career but is open to a change in manufacturers.
"I'm not married to Chevrolet, but I've got a lot of great friends there and a lot of respect for those guys and they do as well," Busch said. "I'd love to stay in Chevy, but we're just going to keep all our options right now and play the field and see exactly what is out there."