The Frontstretch: Stop Beating the Busch: Kurt to SHR Makes Perfect Sense by Mark Howell -- Wednesday August 21, 2013

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Stop Beating the Busch: Kurt to SHR Makes Perfect Sense

Mark Howell · Wednesday August 21, 2013


Information grinding out of the NASCAR rumor mill hints that Stewart-Haas Racing will hire Kurt Busch to drive a fourth Sprint Cup car for the organization next season. To me, it sounds like precisely the shot of adrenaline an anemic NASCAR needs heading into 2014. Like him or not, the elder Busch brother will be a very welcome addition to the SHR stable. Nothing better than a wolf in wolf’s clothing to perk up an otherwise bland era in stock car racing.

The vanilla-flavored division known as the Sprint Cup Series could benefit, if not profit, from Busch taking the wheel of a Stewart-Haas Chevrolet. There’s little question that Busch’s antics – both on and off the track – are capable of grabbing headlines. Given that some of those headlines come from Busch actually grabbing people (like a reporter), well, that’s all-the-more reason to give the Las Vegas native a contract. Such violent outbursts, regardless of whether they’re verbal or physical, draw the kind of perverse attention that captures the interest (if not the support) of even the most casual NASCAR fan. Busch might be a loose cannon, but being a loose cannon is often more fun than being tightly wound…

If the rumor mill is to be believed, Kurt Busch will have a big reason to smile in 2014—and so will Stewart-Haas Racing.

Busch’s personality is a good match for those already on the roster at SHR. Tony Stewart has been known for his short temper (remember his camera drop-kicking incident at Indianapolis a few years ago?), and he’s nothing if not an aggressive competitor poured from the mold of a tough customer like A.J. Foyt. His helmet toss at Matt Kenseth last season at Bristol may not have been sophisticated, but it was 100% Tony Stewart.

What does Smoke do for fun on a Monday night this season? He flips a sprint car multiple times while leading with five laps to go and shatters a leg in two places. Racing, despite what some observers think, is not for sissies…

Why shouldn’t employees be like their boss? Consider the two others Kurt Busch might call his teammates in 2014: Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick. One goes around looking for justice when seemingly wronged at the race track, and the other drives a car sponsored by Budweiser.

Harvick’s nickname isn’t “Happy” because he makes balloon animals at childrens’ birthday parties; his talent is more of the HANS device-throwing variety (just ask Ricky Rudd about his close encounter of the Harvick kind at Richmond a decade ago). Harvick has shared dustups with Joey Logano (Pocono, 2010), Carl Edwards (Charlotte, 2008), Greg Biffle (Bristol, 2002), Joe Nemechek (Charlotte, 2005), and Juan Pablo Montoya (Watkins Glen, 2007) to name just several. Tempers tend to flare in NASCAR, so doesn’t that make Busch’s hiring not only understood, but par for the course at SHR?

And don’t assume that Danica Patrick is the warm and fuzzy one at Stewart-Haas; for every photograph of Patrick happily cuddling with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., there’s the occasional video clip of the Go Daddy driver storming down pit road in search of a competitor who done her wrong.

If a television network were to present life at SHR as a sitcom, adding Kurt Busch to the team would be akin to having Cosmo Kramer move in next door to Jerry Seinfeld; the fun would come from not knowing what might happen next. Every race with Busch at Stewart-Haas would be hard to predict, but wildly entertaining to watch.

Opinions vary, but you cannot deny that Kurt Busch is a talented race car driver. He might be brash, aggressive, and unpredictable, but maybe that’s exactly what SHR (and NASCAR) need right now.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Bill B
08/21/2013 01:44 PM

I’ll tell you one person it doesn’t make sense to… Ryan Newman (and add in all his fans).

The reason given for letting Newman go was lack of sponsorship. Now Haas says he will sponsor Busch out of his own pocket.
Reconcile that.

08/21/2013 01:54 PM

I totally agree! Bring it on! I don’t quite understand why folks want him to stay at FR..granted he is doing quite well this season…at times better then SHR…and he doesn’t have to be a pitchman for his sponsor! Well if rumors are correct..he won’t have much pimping to do at SHR either..if Haas Automation is his sponsor! Kurt seems like a perfect SHR fit..and I think he probably respects Stewart enough he would be on his best behavior…well ok..he would be on as good of behavior as the REST of his teammates! So bring it on! Maybe it would be a combo that could challenge the Hendricks stable!

08/21/2013 02:04 PM

I want to also say..while I can understand the questions surrounding Newmans release..and now the rumor they would like to add Busch..I don’t understand. Yes SHR did cite sponsorship as a problem…and saying they weren’t ready for a 4th car..and then the rumor about Busch popped up. Well..I was under impression they pieced Newmans sponsorship together this season. He had no contract this season, and he took a pay cut this season. ( I could be wrong on all/some of the above.). I would think being let go wasn’t a big surprise to Newman…and I highly doubt SHR deemed it proper to announce Newman wasn’t living up to their expectations on’s just tacky. As far as courting is also my understanding this started before Stewart s accident. I don’t blame SHR for trying to grab a driver of Busch’s caliber…they are in business to put the best cars and drivers they can on track..and I would rate Busch over Newman any day. It’s about the bottom line…not friendships or feelings…just ask Juan Pablo Montoya!!!!

08/21/2013 02:16 PM

Kurt is the better driver

08/21/2013 02:18 PM

Kurt Busch over Ryan Newman. Way to go Tony. This is just further proof that being a good driver in nas$cash doesn’t mean diddly squat. Newman will land in a good seat where driving skills are a priority. Yes Tony, you also have sparkle pony. The kind of krap mentioned here is why this 30+ year fan has gotten pretty fed up with the way nas$cash has been run in Brain Fart’s tenure at the top.

08/21/2013 02:35 PM

I want to strongly mention the spin you put on Harvick and the Ricky Rudd incident seemingly to Harvicks favor. PLEASE!!! Rudd would have had him for lunch the rest of his life. As for letting Newman go claiming lack of sponsorship dollars..liars liars. Tony Stewart, not cool. If the rumors are true and Busch goes to SHR, oh my goodness, what a stable of miserable, nasty people..LOOKOUT!

08/21/2013 03:01 PM

I don’t get why folks are so surprised a driver was let go..don’t get it! Happens every season! WHY would SHR announce “Newman’s not cutting it on track we want a better driver”? That’a alittle bit too much information..and they’ll always be the debate over Newman vs Busch…but the decision belongs to SHR. As far as adding a fourth car WHY would SHR want to show their hand to other organizations while looking at Busch? Not good business..not good at all! All those shouting liars liars need to lighten up…I get those loyal Newman fans… But it happens all the time…what’s the big deal? (And sorry..I think Newman’s known this season might very well be his last…I will admit he has played the “I just want to be with a team that wants me” line very well..

08/21/2013 05:53 PM

if true i would be happy to see kurt drive for shr. i was hoping for RCR but with the combination of tony and kevin he does fit in personality wise. Everyone has run ins at one point and time during a great career but all want to be the best oraganization. this is there chance because its not gonna happen at hendrick roush gibbs, mwr, RCR or penske for them. if true look for 3 of 4 ShR cars in the top 10 consistently next year. Go kurt!

Chris S
08/21/2013 08:23 PM

Lol! The thought of Newman being the superior driver over Busch is laughable. The career statistics speak for themselves. Next argument?

08/21/2013 09:21 PM

Thank you Chris! Newman is a great guy…but..come on folks!

08/21/2013 11:24 PM

People compare Newman and Kurt’s career stats but don’t consider the ride’s that Kurt was in the last two years. Give him a SHR car then compare

Bill B
08/22/2013 06:54 AM

This isn’t really about who is the better driver. This is about being fed a load of BS about why Newman was being let go at SHR. In other words, as is so often the case by corporations, they pissed on our heads and told us it was raining.

Carl D.
08/22/2013 08:28 AM

Bill B…. I agree it’s not really about who is the better driver. Both Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are far better drivers than Danica Patrick.

08/22/2013 12:56 PM

Could Busch be an insurance policy for Tony? When Go Daddy gets tired of supporting a third rate driver and gets out of Nascar, Tony
will have a top notch 3 car team.

Bill B
08/22/2013 06:38 PM

I’m sure SHR will find something for Danica to do around the shop should Go Daddy abandon her.