It’s official: Kurt Busch is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing. By every indication, the 2004 Cup champion will be taking over the number one car at Chip Ganassi Racing being vacated by Jamie McMurray. Though mildly surprising, you had a feeling this could be the outcome. Unlike other veteran drivers, there’s an apparent good future ahead for “The Outlaw.”
This is a case where less is more. If Kurt Busch goes to CGR, it’ll be a two-man operation with Kyle Larson. Sometimes, one got the feeling Busch was a second fiddle to Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer. Even Aric Almirola seemed to be getting more love. At Ganassi, the pairing of the veteran Busch and the upstart Larson seems like a great match. Certainly, NASCAR Nation gets a better fix on where CGR is in the grand scheme of things. No disrespect to Jamie McMurray, but you can’t argue that CGR is upgrading.
Overall, the tenure of Kurt Busch was a success. He pulled through all the professional and personal drama, and one felt like that he was free to be himself. Six wins- including that elusive checkered flag at the Daytona 500 is nothing to sneeze at. You just get the feeling that after five years, it was time for a fresh start.
At 40, Kurt Busch isn’t a kid anymore, but he’s not ready for the rocking chair. He’ll know, and the powers that be will know. The word is that Daniel Suarez will jump into the cockpit of the 41 ride. It’s another case of a racer feeling like a second banana- Joe Gibbs in the case of Suarez. He’s still something of an unknown quantity, so this is that stop for the Mexican native that will prove critical. So far, Suarez is no Danica Patrick, but he hasn’t been a Tony Stewart either.
In all the dominoes that have fallen this silly season, this is a big one. It makes for great intrigue as we anticipate 2019.