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Report: Stewart makes formal offer to Kurt Busch

Aug 19, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT

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NASCAR’s silly season is in overdrive because according to a report from MRN, Motor Racing Network, Stewart Haas Racing has made a formal offer to Kurt Busch for 2014. More information is here from NASCAR.com.

Busch is on a one-year contract with Furniture Row Racing through 2013, and neither driver nor team elaborated further on the rumor over the weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Busch did say his focus at the moment is solely on making the Chase for the Sprint Cup with Furniture Row.

“Well, it’s being focused,” he told NASCAR.com. “I’m excited that we’re running well. We’re able to seal the deal, when that’s been some of our struggles through the midpoint of the season.”

Apart from the oddity that two of NASCAR’s most decorated – and occasionally controversial – drivers could be linking up, the move seems unlikely for a couple reasons.

It’s a team that already has three cars, with Stewart set to return from his injuries, Kevin Harvick joining from Richard Childress Racing and Danica Patrick needing to improve in what will be her second full-time season at the Sprint Cup level. So Busch would be yet another alpha dog in the chain. After two years restoring his reputation at smaller teams, it’s unlikely he’d go to a new team to play second or third-fiddle at what would be a new team effort, as a fourth car for SHR.

As ever, available sponsorship will be the ultimate determining factor. GoDaddy has increased its NASCAR presence with some signage on Stewart’s No. 14, including the full livery on his car at the second Pocono race, Stewart’s most recent start. A sponsor that isn’t already in the SHR fold – a fold that currently includes Bass Pro Shops, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans and GoDaddy among others – would need to be found to make a fourth car possible.

Stewart Haas has already announced Ryan Newman is looking for new employment in 2014 and Stewart himself has said he’d do everything to help Newman going forward. I wouldn’t say “adding a fourth car after telling a friend you’d help him” counts as “helping” in this situation.

Better to be Busch though at this point, with several appetizing possibilities (SHR, Childress, Ganassi, growing at Furniture Row, or a wild card) on the table in free agency.

  1. burm61 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Makes Stewart look amazing when he told his best friend he doesn’t have a ride next year because Harvick is coming in and they couldn’t expand to 4 teams so soon.

  2. noring4youstill - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    You can’t mix friendships and business. At the end of the day Smoke is running a business. And I for one like the idea of bringing in the elder Busch. Newman has not run good on a constant basis, while Busch has shown maturity over the last 2 years. So expand and bring him into the stable. Hell I will say in Newmans defense it should be Danica getting the boot.

    • clambert2013 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Racing is BIG Business in Nascar. Decisions about driver selections can mean millions in sponsorship money. That is why Danica is given ample time to work her way into the “contender category” and keep her ride. GoDaddy has her back. She is definetly talented but bases on performance she would still be in the Nationwide series. Smoke is being smart here. Busch is ready to be the anchor driver in Tony’s stable and to help Danica along if that is possible. Look at Pastrano in Nationwide if you want to see an up and comer.

      • midtec2005 - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        “Look at Pastrana in Nationwide if you want to see an up and comer.”

        One of the most talented people I’ve ever seen. He simply wins at everything he tries…

  3. mnwildfan15 - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Or could Smoke be hanging it up? I know it’s not likely because of his demeanor, but anything could happen.

    • bmcgrath2 - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      No friggin way. Its not like he’s 55 years old

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