The long awaited rumor that Kurt Busch would be leaving Stewart Haas Racing was confirmed on Sunday night. That was the next domino to fall in the NASCAR Silly Season sweepstakes. But, with this move now confirmed, what’s left?
Really, not much.
It’s also widely speculated that Jamie McMurray’s time with Chip Ganassi Racing is done too. Busch, 40, is supposed to be the replacement. McMurray, has been offered a Daytona 500 only seat and an advisory role after.
If Busch doesn’t end up there, he really has no other options. Richard Childress Racing will run just two cars next year as Daniel Hemric replaces Ryan Newman. In turn, Newman replaces Trevor Bayne/Matt Kenseth in the No. 6 Ford with Roush Fenway Racing. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has signed a contract to remain in his No. 17 Ford.
Martin Truex Jr. will move over to the No. 19 Toyota with Joe Gibbs Racing. The other three drivers will come back. Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports aren’t making any changes to their driver lineups.
So, in order for Busch to remain competitive, his only shot is that seat with Ganassi.
With that being said, who takes his ride with SHR? Daniel Suarez is the best option. SHR has since stated that they will run four full time cars in 2019 and that Cole Custer isn’t among their plans. He will return to his seat in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
I doubt McMurray has the funding to swap rides with Busch, so Suarez and having some funding makes the most sense.
Everything else is pretty much secured. Front Row Motorsports just announced a three car team for next season and retained David Ragan and Michael McDowell while also signing Matt Tifft for the third car.
JTG Daugherty Racing has brought in Ryan Preece and resigned Chris Buescher. Richard Petty Motorsports and Germain will retain Bubba Wallace and Ty Dillon respectively. Leavine Family Racing has signed Matt DiBenedetto too.
So, the only rides open now are the No. 1 Chevrolet with CGR, the No. 32 Ford with GoFas Racing and the No. 41 Ford with SHR.