Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch expect to stay with their current teams, indicating Thursday that their deals are imminent and just announcements await. Neither Truex nor Busch was expected to go anywhere. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone has said it's been the team's intent to re-sign Truex.
Stewart-Haas Racing officials have said they have a handshake deal done with Busch. But it still is a rare scenario: Three Chase-qualified drivers (Truex, Busch and #15-Clint Bowyer) enter the opener this weekend without deals announced for next year. "I'm very fortunate I have a great race team," said Truex, who rebounded from 24th in the standings in his first year at Furniture Row to win a race and be 10th entering the Chase this year.
"At the end of the day, this sport is all about timing, it's all about being at the right place at the right time. … There were times last year where I thought, 'Am I ever going to get back to where I once was.' Now suddenly I feel like I'm better than I ever was, and it's kind of an awesome thing. You'll hear an announcement [of an extension] pretty soon. This sport, every year, it gets later and later and later [to get deals done]."
Busch said talks continue with potential sponsors in addition to Haas, whose Haas Automation is the primary sponsor for Busch.
"Everything is pretty close," Busch said. "We'll have the announcement soon. It's great to know that the team and myself and everybody is on the same page. … Everybody is going through the talks and checking the different positions and the temperatures of certain situations. We'll have some things to announce here soon."
The one Chase-qualified driver who appears unsure of what he's doing is Bowyer, who began looking for a 2016 ride last month after Michael Waltrip Racing announced it would cease operations after this season. Bowyer declined to say which teams he still is negotiating with.
"We're digging, honestly," Bowyer said. "I'm working on that. I think we're getting close. I'm excited. Holy cow, who would have ever thought in a million years that would happen eight months into a three-year contract? When you sign three-year contracts, that means you put the contract in the desk and you forget about it and you're secure and you're happy and you're good for three years, right? No, that's not right. I've learned that is not correct." ESPN.com