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DATE News (chronologically)
06/25/13
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NASCAR drivers, owners start looking to 2014
It was curious when Kurt Busch slipped last Thursday after he was asked a silly question about who he would prefer to have dinner with when given a list of drivers. His focus turned to Ryan Newman, his former Penske Racing teammate with whom he experienced a not-so-friendly feud on and off the track as the two free agents searched for rides last year. "Maybe Newman and I need to have a sit-down, because we're both out there charging hard and trying to get into the Chase, and we're looking for rides," said Busch, who almost immediately regretted the last few words. Busch, 34, signed a one-year deal with Furniture Row Racing last year. Although team owner Barney Visser attempted to extend the contract with Busch after he posted three consecutive top-10 finishes to close out the 2012 season, the driver believed it was best to hold off.

And as Busch learned on Sunday - before he made the error of speeding down pit road twice, dropped to 38th and battled back to a fourth-place finish - FRR can produce cars capable of winning. That's a prospect not lost on his rival Newman, who has inquired about the possibility of a second team at FRR for 2014.

Yes, Busch is accustomed to competing with high-profile teams but those coveted seats are few and far between. There have been talks with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing but the driver landscape remains in flux.

On Sunday, Childress admitted that Newman, who will likely have the support of sponsor Quicken Loans, is topping his list of candidates for the #29 ride being vacated by Kevin Harvick. In the winner's post-race interview, Michael Waltrip acknowledged that Brian Vickers "is our guy." "We're trying to get all the pieces together so he can drive the #55 and race for the championship next year," Waltrip said.

Furniture Row Racing has no issues with Busch testing the market - as long as it doesn't become a distraction for the team.Fox Sports
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