It has kind of, sort of become official. After word leaked out over a week ago that Stewart-Haas Racing issued a formal offer to Kurt Busch, Busch confirmed to USA Today via text that he had signed a multi-year deal with the organization for a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride. An official announcement from SHR is expected on Tuesday afternoon.
“I put ink on the deal,” Busch texted, according to USA Today. “This is the kind of situation every driver wants to be in, and I’m grateful to Gene Haas and Haas Automation for providing me this opportunity.”
Gene Haas is the Haas in Stewart-Haas Racing and the Haas in Haas Automation. Haas Automation is assumed to be the sponsor of a fourth Stewart-Haas Racing Sprint Cup Series entry to be driven by Busch
Stewart-Haas Racing currently fields three cars at the Sprint Cup level for team co-owner Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman. Kevin Harvick will join the team at the end of the season, replacing Newman.
Stewart-Haas Racing issued a press release on Monday stating that the team has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon, presumably to introduce Kurt Busch as driver of a fourth car for the team. The press release did confirm that the announcement was regarding team expansion.
Also on Monday, Furniture Row Racing, for which Busch currently drives, issued the following statement.
“It was always our intention to extend Kurt’s contract with Furniture Row Racing,” Furniture Row Racing General Manager Joe Garone said. “We made him an offer last week to continue as the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet in 2014 and beyond. Though he did not accept our offer, we respect his decision and wish him future success. His driving skill and being a dedicated team player will always be appreciated at Furniture Row Racing. But for right now, the main focus for Kurt and the team is to qualify for the Chase and contend for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series championship.”
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR