Two days after it was reported that Shell Pennzoil agreed to sponsor Penske Championship Racing’s No. 22 Dodge, Kurt Busch has announced that he has signed a five-year extension with the team.
This [Shell/Pennzoil] opportunity just came up a few weeks ago and it changed the whole landscape that we ended up with. I didn’t talk to any other teams. When I weighed my options personally, with my wife, Eva, and my manager, we looked at other teams, we tried to find scenarios that would fit for us, but none of them were as powerful as creating the longevity with Penske.
Shell was only interested in signing with Penske if Busch drove the car. Busch added:
One of the prerequisites from Shell was that I would be driving the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge in 2011. That was really the only option that they gave us. So it didn’t fit for Brad [Keselowski]. It didn’t fit for Sam [Hornish Jr.]
As part of the deal with Shell, the company becomes the official motor oil of Penske, meaning that Mobil 1 will have to leave the team at the end of the season. While no new sponsor has been named for the No. 77, driven by Sam Hornish Jr, Penske has indicated that he is committed to Hornish, and having a third car.
Verizon, which currently sponsors the No. 12 driven by Keselowski, could move to the No. 77. But, because the team cannot put its logos on the car due to NASCAR’s exclusive agreement with Sprint, there has been speculation that Verizon might leave.