Where will Kurt Busch race in 2019?
Busch’s current co-owner, Gene Haas, claims to be in the dark about the future of one of his four Cup drivers.
“I really think you need to talk to Kurt Busch and Chip Ganassi and Jamie McMurray. I think they know more than we do,” Haas told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Saturday night, not long after Busch’s first win of the season and a week after it was reported that the 40-year-old driver would leave Stewart-Haas Racing for Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 car next year.
After claiming his 30th Cup Series win, Kurt Busch said he hasn’t made any commitments to where he’ll be racing in 2019.
“I haven’t decided and there’s time, that’s in our favor,” Busch told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, has driven for SHR since 2014 and accumulated six wins, including the 2017 Daytona 500. Saturday night’s win snapped a 58-race winless streak for the No. 41 Ford and secured Busch a spot in the playoffs with teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
“Drivers have a right to do what they want,” Haas said. “We have expectations, they have expectations and sometimes you can’t all make them meet up to have a favorable outcome. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s not that it’s personal or anything, it’s just that this is racing. Kurt’s been with us for (five) years. It’s been an interesting time and we’ve had a lot of good time. We won Daytona last year. There’s a lot of good that came out of it. Just like you make changes to cars, sometimes you make changes to crews, sometimes drivers change. I don’t read a lot into it. I don’t have any animosity. Who knows? There’s the possibility he could be driving with us next year. At the moment, the rumor mill knows all.”
It’s the second year in a row Busch’s future in the No. 41 Ford has been in doubt.
Last year, Busch signed a one-year deal in December after SHR declined to pick up his option in August. Busch said then that he also was exploring rides with other teams and that he had offers.
Following the report about his potential departure for Ganassi, Busch said the week leading up to the Bristol race “was tough.”
“There’s not anything to announce or anything to do,” Busch said. “So we’re going to go enjoy this off week and that’s what I’ve asked everybody to do and we just have to have clarity as we move forward. They know I’m a winner. I know they’re a winner. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
Busch’s Bristol win was significant personally, not just because it ended a long winless streak and got him into the playoffs.
He reached a goal he set for himself 19 years ago at the start of his Cup career.
“I always wanted to get to 30 (wins),” Busch said. “This is a big win for me. I grew up at Roush Racing watching a guy named Mark Martin help me. He was a great mentor. I looked up to him as a racer. He had 33, 34 wins (at the time). I think he might have ended his career with 40. Early on, before I won my first ever race, (I thought) If I can get to 30, that’s a pretty special career. Made it tonight. I’m choked up about it. I really love this win tonight. To have six Bristol trophies is special.”