We’ve all seen this happen before, no matter it being a company or a race team or what not, when employees decide before the end of their current contract to leave for something new, it gets kind of awkward for the duration of the deal. In sports, it could even derail championships. I mean, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are treading slippery slopes. Granted, they’re in two entirely different situations, but just look at what team owner Gene Haas has said over the last month and tell me something may or may not be brewing.
“I really think you need to talk to Kurt Busch and Chip Ganassi and Jamie McMurray,” Haas told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio following Busch’s Bristol win last month. “I think they know more than we do.”
While Hass aid that drivers have the right to do what they want and that this isn’t personal or anything, he made this comment on Sunday to NBC Sports prior to the opening playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“As far as we know, Kurt Busch has signed up with Chip Ganassi,” Haas said. “That’s the rumors we hear. But he hasn’t announced it yet, either. I think the only thing I’ve heard from him is he hasn’t signed anything. I think he’s out looking around and see what kind of a deal he can put together. I assume it’s over at Chip Ganassi Racing.”
The AP reported prior to last Monday’s rain delayed Brickyard 400 that Jamie McMurray would be out of the No. 1 Chevrolet past this season and that he was offered an adviser role to remain with the organization in a new capacity. That opens the door up for Busch. It could be that both Busch and Ganassi are waiting for the playoffs to end for them before making an announcement. They’re doing it the right way. Busch, concedes still that he hasn’t signed anything yet. Just a few weeks ago he said he was two good offers to digest and wouldn’t sign anything yet.
He even told me after the Brickyard that he’s committed to his team in the now and not his future per say. I tend to trust him. But, his end game also appears to be with Ganassi. Kudos for both sides to making sure to focus on their championship chances and waiting until they’re likely done before announcing anything.
In turn, here’s where it can get ugly. Haas is commenting that it’s not “personal” but he may take it that way. He’s the one who expanded his team and to bring Busch in for the 2014 season. After all the ugliness that Busch went through prior and even his domestic case with a past ex girlfriend, Haas still stood by Busch’s side. He put his name on his car even when funding wasn’t there.
Hass, was the first and one of the few who took a chance on Busch in his darkest days.
Read what his next comment was about Busch returning still for 2019.
“If he gets on a tear and wins five races and goes on to win the championship, we definitely would talk to him,” Haas continued. “That’s why we signed him to win a championship. As time went on, it became less probable that that would happen. That’s why we’re at where we’re at now. I think he’s kind of stated, too, that next year is going to be his last year.”
That to me is kind of personal don’t you think? Busch, is having one of his better years and is certainly a contender for this year’s championship still. Why does he have to win five races and win the championship to solidify his seat? He was in the top five of the overall points in the regular season and ended a 58 race winless streak at Bristol for crying out loud. He has more top 10 finishes this year than he had all of last year and 2014. He’s only four top 10’s shy of tying his season total in 2015 and 2016. He’s also led more laps already this year too than all but one season with SHR. This is the second best average finishing position of his career. He’s also had a better average starting spot this season than any of his other years in NASCAR.
Safe to say, Busch’s 2018 season will be his best since he joined SHR. He’s not slowing down, in fact, he’s getting better.
While he’s never finished better than seventh in the final standings while at SHR, 2018 seems much better than 2014 through 2017. He’s won six times, one of which being last year’s Daytona 500. He’s arguably the second best driver at SHR behind Kevin Harvick. To say “as time went on it became less probable that that would happen” seems like a shot at Busch to me.
It’s something that will get back to him this week and could derail this whole thing. He’s a legitimate contender to make it to Homestead in November. Then, all bets are off.
Busch, could have taken his Monster Energy sponsorship and ran because of how the team didn’t pick up his option last year. He basically took a pay cut to return in 2018. That could have made him feel the way that he’s felt to look elsewhere. Now that he has and found something new, he’s probably feels why come back when they didn’t put their faith in me last year? Haas, feels jaded because he gave Busch a shot and feels like he’s bailing on him.
See where this could go?
What about Ryan Newman and Richard Chidress Racing. Newman, announced after final practice on Saturday that the 2018 season would be his fifth and last with RCR. He kept it classy. Well, on Sunday, RCR made a statement themselves, while 99-percent of it was classy, there was what I felt an unnecessary comment made in it.
“As announced yesterday, Ryan Newman will not return to RCR in 2019. He was released from his contract last month,” the early part of the statement read.
Why put the “he was released from his contract last month” in there? That didn’t need to be said. That’s a jaded way to make it sound like they have the upper hand. That’s saying “we released him” and did so “last month.”
Do we really need to know that? Was that something you really had to say?
That’s why these contracts can end ugly. The wording towards the end goes sideways.