Indianapolis, IN- The rumors that Kurt Busch would head to Stewart/Haas Racing are now officially true.
Busch and SHR agreed to a multi-year deal beginning in 2014 for Busch to join the now four car team.
The 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion will join co-owner Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick in 2014 and beyond. The move though is somewhat a slap in the face to current SHR driver Ryan Newman.
Newman who recently just won the Brickyard 400 and is in the hunt to make this year’s Chase was let go in July. He will drive out the remainder of the season then search for a new ride. The news was sort of a shock when it was announced but didn’t surprise too many due to the reasoning.
Stewart and Newman have been friends since their USAC days in the 90′s. He made it sound during the New Hampshire weekend when the deal was announced that it was all about funding and resources. Stewart said he would have loved to bring Newman back but didn’t have the funding or the resources for a fourth car.
With bringing in Harvick he at least brought some sponsors over to help alleviate the cost of that third car. A fourth car though was out of the question.
Now, a fourth car and funding has somehow been found with bringing Busch over. So what’s the reasoning behind it then?
The answer is performance.
Newman hasn’t fared too well at SHR since he arrived on the scene in 2009. He had five top fives and finished ninth in the standings in the first year of SHR but didn’t reach victory lane. He did win once in 2010 but had a worse season in finishing 15th in the final standings.
Newman would go on to win one race in 2011 and one in 2012 but again never was a factor in the championship finishing 10th and 14th respectively in the standings. Without bringing much money in and struggling he was facing a make or break season in 2013.
Prior to the announcement that he’d be let go he struggled just to get a top 10. The No. 39 team was down and it looked like a 20th place or worse points finish.
Luckily, they turned things around since and have been on a roll. Newman won the Brickyard 400 and put himself in a position to make the Chase.
The problem is it’s too little too late.
The South Bend, Indiana native has only four wins in four years of service at SHR while his teammate Stewart has thrived, including winning a championship. Stewart and SHR made a business move to get rid of Newman due to performance, not money.
Busch brings in intensity and a passion to win. He has turned Furniture Row Racing into a title contender when they were a 20th place at best team. He’s a champion and running well right now.
That’s all this move boils down to.
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