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Kurt Busch signs with new team for 2013

Smith had been unable to pick up the momentum of his 2011 breakthrough season which saw his maiden win with the team in the Southern 500 at Darlington, and he admitted that they had suffered a poor start to this year's campaign that had set them back.

"We made the changes I felt like we needed to make as a team to get better and move forward, about three-quarters of the way through the year," said Smith. "And we have improved. It's been steadily improving and getting better. I think the disappointing thing for me is to sit back and know I suffered through the tough times."

Last weekend at Loudon, Smith finished in 16th place while Kurt Busch finished in 25th in the Phoenix Racing entry.

"Now it appears I'm getting the car ready for someone else," he sighed. "That's a little disappointing for me."

Smith added that he didn't know what this meant for his own prospects of finding a ride in NASCAR next season, but that perhaps it was about time that he moved on to somewhere new.

"You've got to look at what's down the road also, and I feel like I'm at a point in my career right now where I'm getting better every time I get in the race car," the 29-year-old from New York state said. "I don't think I've peaked or anything like that. I'm sure there's still some stuff out there. I've been talking to people for some time now, and we'll see over the next weeks, maybe months how it shakes out from here.

"This is all kind of new. You try to figure it out as you go along. But we'll roll with the punches as I've always done, and see how it shakes out."




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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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