Kurt Busch announced Sunday night that he was, in fact, leaving Stewart Haas Racing after five seasons with the team. That’s not news to anyone in NASCAR as we’ve all known for months that he wouldn’t be back in the #41 next year. The elder Busch is expected to replace Jamie McMurray in the #1 car at Ganassi.
In Kurt Busch’s iPhone notes announcement though he appeared to toss a little shade at team co-owner Gene Haas. Back in September at the first playoff race in Las Vegas Gene Haas had some interesting things to say about Kurt Busch’s time at SHR.
“If he gets on a tear and wins five races and goes on to win the championship, we definitely would talk to him,” Haas quipped.
“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.”
Essentially Gene was saying that Kurt underachieved at the team. He was brought in to win a championship and that didn’t happen. Meanwhile, SHR has two championships in 10 years and their most recent came in 2014.
So in Kurt’s departure from SHR announcement he potentially tossed a little shade at his former team owner.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) December 3, 2018
“The stats add up… 6 wins, 11 poles, 37 Top-5’s, 90 TOp-10’s and more than 1,900 laps led.”
For most drivers and teams that is a solidly successful tenure together over 5 years. It’s a better tenure than Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer have had with the SHR. It just seems interesting that Kurt would include his stats in his departure note. Especially after the comments Gene Haas made.
Was the shade on purpose? Potentially, however, this is the new Kurt Busch. The one that is media/sponsor-friendly, the one with a new outlook on life. There was also no mention of Gene in his note after Gene specifically wanted Kurt for this ride. So much so that he didn’t consult Tony Stewart before he did the deal. So did he really want to rustle some feathers on his way out? Maybe just a little bit in a subtle way and we appreciate that.
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