Kurt Busch to renew with SHR for ’18 and ’19 (9th Update)

Kurt Busch ready to move on
Kurt Busch

UPDATE Kurt Busch's contract with Stewart-Haas Racing expires at the end of the 2018 season. And the team said Wednesday it "fully expects" Busch to return in 2019. The team issued the statement – a statement issued just six races into the 36-race season – to the Sports Business Journal on Wednesday evening.

12/13/17 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Kurt Busch has re-signed with Stewart-Haas Racing for 2018, putting him back in the No. 41 Ford for the 2018 Cup season.

The winner of the 2017 Daytona 500 confirmed his re-signing in a statement.

“Having my hard work pay off by winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and the 2017 Daytona 500 has given me the drive to continue conquering the NASCAR world," Busch said.

“I am excited to enter the 2018 racing season as a Monster Energy athlete where I will continue to drive my favorite manufacturer, the Ford Motor Company. Knowing that SHR is committed to optimum performance, I believe that I have everything I need to win races this season and take home the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup. I look forward to taking on next year with my team, sponsors and determination."

12/11/17 Stewart-Haas Racing is expected to announce this week that Kurt Busch has signed on to continue driving the team's No. 41 Ford in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, according to sources. Terms of the new deal were unclear at presstime. Busch's prior deal, which expired at the end of this season, was not extended on the same terms earlier this year as the team faces potential cutbacks by co-primary sponsor Monster Energy. That led to prolonged contract talks. Busch is repped by Alan Miller.

SHR execs have maintained that they also expect to sign a renewal with Monster, whose deal ends this year. The new terms — and whether the deal will be unveiled alongside Busch's renewal — were unclear as of presstime. Monster splits primary sponsorship on the No. 41 with Haas Automation, the machine parts company founded by team co-Owner Gene Haas. Adam Stern/SBD

Busch happy
Busch happy

12/01/17 Kurt Busch remains confident and optimistic that a new contract with Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 season will be forthcoming, the driver said during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas Thursday.

“It’s all a work in progress," Busch said. “Monster has stood by my side and Ford has been supportive. I like the way the two sides are coming together. My focus has been more about the people and personnel and how we’re going to make this work to be more successful next year. Winning Daytona was great, but we want more."

“I think my best chance to win races, to win championships is to be with Stewart-Haas Racing," Busch said. “Talked with other owners and the offers were about the same from other teams, but the offers weren’t the same as far as level of car. And to work with Doug Yates and Ford and all the individuals that I’ve grown around and felt comfortable with at SHR, that’s not available at other teams.

“We’ll see how it all plays out, I’m not too worried about it."

11/12/17 With just eight days remaining in the 2017 Monster Energy Series NASCAR Cup Season, Kurt Busch still does not have a signed deal to drive in 2018.

That is despite Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) announcing other major news, including Aric Almirola for the #10 and an Xfinity Series alliance with Biagi-DenBeste Racing. So, what about the reigning Daytona 500 winner and the 2004 Cup Series champion?

SHR representatives say a deal is in the works and that it is just a matter of time but blame is being assessed on "negotiations" and the "business" of the sport. Haas's personal business is a partial sponsor of the #41 car, however, Busch has a personal and professional relationship with Monster Energy. Additionally, Bush has another potential sponsor in the works which should be announced some time after a deal is reached with the team.

A key holdup is that Busch is being asked to take a significant pay cut despite bringing financial support to the team.

"It's just kind of part of the negotiations, obviously, it would be better to solidify that and I think we will in the next few weeks," Haas told Kickin' the Tires before last week's race at Texas Motor Speedway. "Umm, the whole problem with the sport is there is just less revenue coming in and these adjustments are kind of painful on everybody."

When asked about a pay cut for Busch, Haas said it was more than just a dollar figure holding things up. He also said the team is concerned that sponsors might leave at the end of their contracts and that could put things in a bind. Asked specifically if he was worried about Monster Energy pulling and Haas said no.

Reached for comment for his side of the situation, Busch would only say that he was "in negotiations." Kickin the Tires

11/03/17 With Kurt Busch seemingly having Monster Energy at his side and backing from Ford Performance it is almost a given he will be back at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018 but with just three races left in the season no deal has been inked.

Busch, who won the 2017 Daytona 500, still doesn’t have a deal for next year and he would only say that he is “in negotiations" but did not confirm if that included anyone other than SHR. Previously, he said that he considered himself a “free agent" and had been fielding calls from multiple teams.

Joe Custer, SHR executive vice-president, told Kickin’ the Tires this past weekend at Martinsville Speedway that he expects to see Busch behind the wheel of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas CNC Ford next season. The process is complicated, he said, on getting a deal put in place but is moving forward.

“We’re still working on it but yeah, that’s always been our goal," Custer said. “We’re 100 percent in. We are working hard to get it done. You know, it’s just the nature of the beast these days, I think, up and down the garage you see it all, you know, between sponsorship and everything we are all working on so hard for. It’s a tough sell, it’s a tough environment out there.

“It’s the new norm … it used to be deals were done a year ahead and they were done in three-year increments. It’s just that you don’t see that very often anymore."

Asked if the team was in active negotiations with Busch and wanted to see him back behind the wheel with Monster Energy on the hood, Custer was adamant that a deal will be reached. In fact, he rebuffed any notion of not having Busch in the fold.

“We love Kurt and we’re working hard, I expect something shortly," Custer said. “For us, the reality is we are racers, time is everything and we want to move quickly. Sometimes, you just have to have patience.

“They (Monster Energy) are a great partner to answer your question, absolutely," he said. “And an important partner, you know, but business is business and people are taking a long, hard looks at every aspect of it. And it is just taking longer than it ever has. I don’t think it is more negative … it’s just there are lots more people involved. They’re taking a harder look at all the data. Everything is being looked at much closer in the sponsorship environment and it probably should be."

08/05/17 Kurt Busch didn't appear stressed Saturday morning talking about his contract status — he is now a free agent and able to look for 2018 — and whether he would return to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.

The 2004 NASCAR Cup champion has driven for SHR since 2014, but sponsor Monster Energy has not announced a decision on whether it would return to SHR and Busch.

Busch, who turned 39 on Friday, won the 2017 Daytona 500 for his 29th career NASCAR Cup victory and sits 14th in the standings.

"They chose not to pick up my option, but I see it as good options for me," Busch said Saturday before practice at Watkins Glen. "I'm not too worried about it. I feel like there's more options out there than what exist here.

"The phone didn't stop ringing all week and not just because it was my birthday."

While SHR tweeted earlier this week that it expected Busch to return, Busch appears ready to move on if he gets a better or more solid offer. It likely will depend on sponsorship. Busch's former home, Furniture Row Racing, is among those looking for funding to field a car next year, as are Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing.

"I'm looking for the best possible options to race a competitive car that has got a chance to win races, win poles and compete for a championship," Busch said. "There are different cars that are options for me, and Stewart-Haas is one of them." ESPN

08/01/17 Stewart-Haas Racing today tweeted that while it does not "comment on contract status," it expects Kurt Busch to return as driver of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series No. 41 Ford in '18, appearing to undercut an earlier report TWITTER.com.

Earlier today, MOTORSPORT.com reported SHR had "informed Busch the organization will not pick up the option" on the driver and that the "expectation is that Busch will not drive" for the team in '18. MOTORSPORT.com

08/01/17 The 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch is set to lose his Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Cup drive. SHR has informed 2004 champion Busch it does not plan to pick up its option on him for next season, which expires at midnight on Tuesday. Of the other SHR drivers, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer are under contract for 2018 while Danica Patrick's future is uncertain.

08/01/17 Motorsport.com is reporting that 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch will not be back with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018. We will pass along more information as we receive it.

AR1 Staff Report

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