With the “official” announcement being made Tuesday, Kurt Busch has already signed on to be the 4th driver at the Stewart-Haas Racing organization starting in 2014. The big question isn’t how well he is going to perform, but what his move means for those around him.
A few tough years and a couple of rides later, Busch finally found himself a steady ride in 2013 with Furniture Row Racing. Based out of Denver, Colorado, this one-car team is an extension of Richard Childress Racing. The No.78 Chevy has had a variety of drivers but none have taken them to the top quite like Busch has.
Busch currently finds himself in a position to qualify for the Chase, although he has yet to win this season. With six top-5s and eleven top-10s, Busch has been fairly consistent. With only a one-year contract at FRR, all eyes, and offers, were towards Busch to see where he would end up in 2014.
Reports of offers from RCR and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing started surfacing just weeks ago. Even FRR said they wanted to extend their deal with Busch but no one expected an offer to come from SHR.
SHR, originally a two-car team, added a third full-time car in 2013 when Rookie Danica Patrick joined the ranks of the organization. As announced in 2012, Kevin Harvick would be making the switch to SHR in 2014. With a still-green driver (no pun intended) and a new teammate, growing to a four-car team was not in the cards for SHR. Or so we thought.
When the rumors started surfacing last week that an offer had been made, the racing world seemed to be taken by surprise. If SHR could expand to a four-car team then why couldn’t Ryan Newman stay? Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever know the answer to that question.
Busch moving to SHR isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I think it is a brilliant idea. Having drivers like Busch, Harvick, Patrick and Tony Stewart on the same team could move SHR into the ranks Hendrick Motorsports, another four-car powerhouse. SHR also has a direct partnership with HMS, receiving engines and chassis from their race shop.
So think about it this way if you would, SHR and HMS work closely together when you think about parts and engines. So, in theory, you have one eight-car team comprised of the four drivers from SHR and the four drivers from HMS: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
With 13 Sprint Cup Series Championships between the two teams, SHR and HMS are going to be unstoppable in the coming years. Plus, each team has a very popular and well-liked driver on their team, who also bring in sponsorship dollars; Patrick and Earnhardt Jr.
The way I see it, Kurt Busch moving to Stewart-Haas Racing is nothing but a good thing. 2014 probably won’t be easy for the organization seeing as they struggled at the beginning of 2013 after adding a third team and the new Gen-6 car. Once they get everything sorted out, everyone else better watch their backs.
With Smoke, Happy, The Outlaw and the Danistar in the same race shop and sharing information, the NASCAR world better be ready, 2014 is going to be one great season. And to those in the garage, don’t be surprised of the pranks become more frequent .
Topics: Dale Earnhardt Jr, Danica Patrick, Furniture Row Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Richard Childress Racing, Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart