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NASCAR Cup Series

SHR Says They “Expect” Kurt Busch Back in 2018 for Another Season

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You can tell the Monster Energy NASCAR Silly Season has arrived.

Silly Season is the time of year when rumors fly about drivers and sponsors changing teams for the upcoming season or in some cases leaving the sport altogether.

The latest participants in the Silly Season vortex are Stewart-Haas Racing and driver Kurt Busch Multiple news outlets, including Nate Ryan at NBCSports.com, are reporting today that SHR has not picked up Busch’s contract option for 2018, meaning he’s free to sign with any team for next year.

SHR, in the meantime, put out this Tweet, suggesting Busch will, in fact, be back with the team in 2018.

So what does it all mean?

Just because SHR didn’t pick up Busch’s option doesn’t mean he won’t drive for the team next year. He could sign a new contract with the team, or he could move on.

The team also could be waiting on final decisions on sponsorship for Busch’s No. 41 Ford and the team’s other three cars before signing a new driver deal.

Since Busch joined the team in 2014, his car has mostly been funded out of team co-owner Gene Haas’ pocket before Monster Energy came onboard.

Haas’s company has also sponsored Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 SHR Ford for a number of races this season.

Busch, the 2004 champion in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, joined SHR in 2014.  He was won at least race in every season with the team, including this year’s Daytona 500, and is on track to make the NASCAR playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with FOXSports.com, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.