Kurt Busch had hoped to announce his new move last week, but waiting a few days didn’t hurt. On Sunday night, the 2004 Cup Series champion announced that after five seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing, that he’d depart for a new endeavor.
On Tuesday, Busch’s destination is known.
As widely speculated, Busch will join Chip Ganassi Racing and replace Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Chevrolet. McMurray, started his career with CGR and left for Roush Fenway Racing in 2006. But, the Missouri native returned to the seat in 2010 and has won four of his seven races since.
Three of those four wins came in that 2010 season with two of the three wins occurring in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Over the last eight years, McMurray had just one win and 24 top five finishes. He never scored more than three top five finishes in each of the last three seasons.
Hence the change.
McMurray, was offered an advisory role with CGR and a ride for the Daytona 500 in a third entry. In return, Busch signed a one year contract in which the 2019 season will likely be his last full time effort in NASCAR. But, if he were to come out hot, well that could sway him to stay around a little longer.
“If we come out of the gate gangbusters if we’ve got five wins by July in Daytona, then I say lets talk about 2020,” Busch said on Tuesday’s teleconference. “For me, the way that everything’s hand out from the switch from SHR to Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve always talked about 2019 and that being my 20th full time year. That’s a number I’ve had in my mind and any time you get an opportunity like this, you don’t know what is around the next corner. I see it all in and we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Team owner Chip Ganassi though said that if they win five races by July, then it’s going to be “automatic” and that they’ll make a change in the contract right now.
Busch, also brings his sponsor Monster over with him and see the energy drink become the primary sponsor on the No. 1 ride. With that being said, the Las Vegas native did say that this deal was done back in the summer and out of respect to SHR and how well that their season was going, they kept delaying the announcement.
“This deal worked out in a three hour meeting with Chip and a quick Monster can,” said Busch. “It as so smooth and so genuine. Why I wanted a small delay in the announcement was really strictly me being selfish and wanting a really cool introduction of the smokeshow that Monster brings. Wanting the glitz, glamor, the fun and the energy that they bring. It also duck tailed off the 2018 season that I had at SHR. That group, they knew mid summer that we weren’t going to be together. I have to comment Greg Zipadelli and Tony Stewart in the way that they approached the playoff races. Chip and I started that deal and the way Monster confirmed, Chip and I looked at each other and said that as long as I was championship eligible and running strong, we’ll just delay the announcement.
Busch, has made 648 starts in NASCAR’s premiere division and has scored 30 wins, 137 top five finishes and 280 top 10’s.