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Motorsports 101 Debate: What Team Will Kurt Busch Drive for in 2014?August 21st, 2013 at 10:30 AM
By Mark Eddinger
As the summer months come to an end NASCAR's silly season is still in full swing and the next big chip to fall into place may be where Kurt Busch will drive in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Motorsports 101 debates where he will land for 2014 and beyond.
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing – By Clayton Caldwell
Oh the options are a plenty according to sources in the Sprint Cup Series as far as Kurt Busch’s ride for 2014. Stewart-Haas Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing have all been mentioned as possibilities for Busch in 2014.
Our debate is where Kurt Busch will go? Lets sort through all the rumors and figure out the answer.
First there’s Stewart-Haas Racing a team that has already made it clear they have offered a ride to Busch for 2014. Busch wouldn’t have to impress sponsors at Stewart-Haas Racing as co-owner Gene Haas’ Haas Automation would support that team, according to sources. The bugaboo with this deal is something that is hard to deny. If Busch really wanted this ride why would he not already have accepted it? Maybe the team is waiting for a crew chief or to sure up some loose ends but it makes you a little skeptical as to what else is out there for the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
Then there is Furniture Row Racing the team that Busch currently drives for in the 2013 season. Busch has given the organization its best season and one could only think that the team would want to keep that good rhythm they have going with Busch going. However, Busch said recently that Furniture Row Racing has yet to offer him a contract for 2014, which waves a red flag. Why would they not want Busch back with their team. Then came the rumor that Furniture Row could be aligning with a Toyota team. If that’s the case that makes you wonder what team and just how much control the team they are aligning with will have. It may be up to that team who Furniture Row Racing hires as their driver in 2014. However, Furniture Row Racing has had a strong year so sticking right where they are is likely.
Richard Childress Racing is a possibility as well. RCR helped put Kurt in a ride with Furniture Row Racing in 2013 and that has rejuvenated Busch’s career. Part of the reason why Busch wasn’t in an RCR car in 2013 was that Childress could not find a sponsor who would put up with Busch’s antics. Furniture Row Racing, a sponsor owned team, did not have to worry about losing sponsors since they own their car. That made Busch, who is a great driver, a perfect match for that ride. Could RCR find sponsorship for Busch in 2014? That’s the question.
The last option is Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. EGR recently let go Juan Pablo Montoya and the #42 Target ride is a possibility for Busch. Target, the sponsor of the team, seemed to like Montoya’s brash attitude. The only problem with Montoya was how he did on the racetrack. That will not be an issue with Busch. Add that to the possibility that Busch wants to run the Indianapolis 500 in 2014 it makes sense. Busch will need an owner and sponsor to make the Indy 500 run possible. Ganassi may be the guy to help Busch pull it off. Even though Kyle Larson is waiting in the wings, Busch is a major contender for this ride.
After sorting it all out, Kurt Busch will be the driver of the #42 Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The decision will come down to Busch’s desire to run in the Indy 500 and the power that Target and Chip Ganassi have to make that happen. I believe that Furniture Row and RCR would have an issue with Kurt not spending the month of May focused on NASCAR and focused on an IndyCar. Ganassi and Target may like that idea.
The hot rumor around NASCAR circles is that Stewart-Haas Racing has made a major play for Kurt Busch to come join the organization in 2014. A lot of the time these stories end up coming true, however, this time that may not be the case.
Kurt Busch is having a great season with the single car team Furniture Row Racing which is based in Denver, Colorado. They are currently in a Chase position with three races remaining until the 12 drivers will be locked in. He sits ninth in the points standings but is only six points ahead of 11th. He does not have a win in 2013 which means right now he is not eligible for a wild card if he does fall from the top 10. Six top five finishes in 23 races though means this team is competing up from a lot.
Even though FRR is called a single-car team they get their chassis from Richard Childress Racing a lot like how Stewart-Haas Racing gets their chassis from Hendrick Motorsports. They share a lot of information with RCR and Kevin Harvick has credited Busch with raising RCR's game in 2013.
Harvick is off to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 so will Busch follow him? Stewart-Haas Racing originally said they were not resigning Ryan Newman because after bringing in Harvick they could not support a fourth car. That could be a true statement because at times SHR hasn't been that competitive on the track this season and in seasons past even though Tony Stewart did win the 2011 championship. Busch has been just as competitive at FRR this season as Stewart was before getting injured and as Ryan Newman is even though they both did win a race each. The move to Stewart-Haas might look good on the outside but it could be a terrible move for Busch.
Richard Childress Racing is set with Jeff Burton, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon in 2014 in three cars but still might run a fourth team. No offense to Burton and Menard but they are not top notch contenders and Dillon will be running his first full season. Richard Childress Racing needs to add a top talent and the top talent on the free agent market is Busch. With that said, RCR has struggled in the past trying to run four teams and finding full sponsorship for Busch is still an issue.
For that reason it makes sense for RCR to keep Busch at the satellite FRR team with the sponsorship already in place. FRR is ready to grow so why not add a second team there so Busch can have a teammate and make that organization even stronger. Ryan Newman could be a good possibility to land there if that would happen.
Right now Busch is focused on the next three races and making the Chase like he should be. If he gets in look for him to re-up with FRR for 2014 but if he doesn't then all bets could be off.
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