Kurt Busch headed to Stewart-Haas? (3rd Update) UPDATE #3
Stewart-Haas Racing continues to work on a deal to put Kurt Busch in a Sprint Cup car for 2014.
SHR Competition Director Greg Zipadelli said Friday that the team began talking with Busch about two weeks ago. The move is a turnaround from SHR’s plans in early July, when it announced that Ryan Newman won’t return next season and team co-owner Tony Stewart said the organization wasn’t prepared to have a fourth team.
It appears that team co-owner Gene Haas is willing to foot at least part of the bill to fund a team for Busch.
“Something’s changed,” Zipadelli said. “Gene Haas is obviously a partner and started this (team) many years ago. He’s always liked Kurt. We talked about Kurt last year, putting him in the 39 (instead of Newman). Things just didn’t work out.
“… This just kind of got sprung on us 14 days ago or less. Gene just showed some interest in having the ability to put something together (for Busch).”
Busch, who is ninth in the Cup standings and in position to lead Furniture Row Racing to its first Chase appearance, is the 2004 Cup champion and has 24 career victories. Newman, who is 15th in the Cup standings and vying for a wild-card spot, has 17 career Cup wins.
“It’s really nothing that Ryan did wrong,” Zipadelli said. “He’s done a great job. He’s a good guy (and) a heck of a driver. … We didn’t think that we would have all the pieces put together at (New Hampshire last month).
“We felt like it was the best thing for Ryan to give him a fair shot at securing something for himself, which is the most important thing.”
While SHR is trying to put something together for Busch, Zipadelli said the deal is not done.
“I don’t know if it will all come together,” Zipadelli said. “It’s going to take an awful lot. It is kind of late. … We spent some time this week talking about buildings and expanding, so as far as that part of it goes, we’re pretty much committed (to a fourth team).
“We’re working on that and if we can get it all worked out, we’re going to head that way.” Sporting News08/19/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, There is a rumor in Indy of Kurt Busch doing Indy with Andretti Motor Sports and a sponsor that would be committed to both NASCAR and Indy. My guess is Chevrolet is involved in these talks and since Tony Stewart has done the double this rumor appears to have some merit. In addition, there are those that believe Kurt has grown significantly since his ouster at Penske and he has done a masterful job making Furniture Row Competitive. I believe Newman and Busch will swap rides. Charlie, Zionsville
Dear Charlie, If Andretti signs Montoya for IndyCars as rumored, we doubt they will also be able to run Busch. Mark C.
08/19/13 Responding to reports that he has a formal contract offer from Stewart Haas Racing to drive a fourth Sprint Cup entry for the organization in 2014, Busch told ESPN.com that he has multiple opportunities for next season. He did not address Stewart Haas Racing specifically though he did say nothing was signed as of Monday morning. "I've received offers from multiple teams," Busch said. "This isn't a decision I'm taking lightly. I'm looking at what teams have planned long term and want to be in a place where my opinion and input is valued. I like to be involved in the process like I have been here at Furniture Row. At the same time, I was hoping to not have this distraction while working with my guys to get us in the Chase." ESPN
Stewart Haas Racing has submitted a formal offer to #78-Kurt Busch to drive a fourth Sprint Cup entry beginning in 2014, multiple NASCAR sources have confirmed to ESPN.com. The proposed deal would team Busch with team owner Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick in the SHR stable.
Asked for confirmation Sunday, SHR spokesman Mike Arning submitted the following statement via email: "Stewart-Haas Racing constantly strives to improve itself, and expansion is something that is often discussed. If the right opportunity presents itself, it's something the team will certainly consider." Busch was unavailable for comment Sunday night.
Sources said Haas/CNC would sponsor Busch's car, should he choose to sign with SHR. Busch has performed quite well this season in the #78 Chevy from Furniture Row Racing, but team sources say FRR has yet to offer him a contract extension. ESPN