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Rumours connect Kurt Busch to Stewart-Haas for 2014

Kurt Busch is having a strong run in 2013, and his stock has risen sharply as a result. He's now a sought-after free agent for next year, with Stewart-Haas said to be among those interested.
One of the biggest news stories coming out of last weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway was the third place finish for Kurt Busch, the latest in a string of strong performances from the 2005 NASCAR Cup champion which has seem him propel the #78 Furniture Row Racing car into unlikely Chase contention.

Busch is now in ninth place in the standings with just three races remaining before the Chase cut-off after Richmond next month. Making the Chase with a relatively low-profile one-car shoestring operation would be a huge achievement for Busch, who is currently in front of some big names in the sport including Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle as well as Hendrick Motorsport's Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon.

Not surprisingly, the rumours have already started about where Busch might head next season after his current one-year deal with Furniture Row Racing expires. Busch himself confirmed this weekend that he's already received multiple approaches from teams in the NASCAR paddock for his services in 2014.

"I've received offers from multiple teams," Busch told ESPN.com on Monday. "This isn't a decision I'm taking lightly. I'm looking at what teams have planned long term and want to be in a place where my opinion and input is valued.

"I like to be involved in the process like I have been here at Furniture Row," Busch added when asked what he was looking for in prospective 2014 race deals. "At the same time, I was hoping to not have this distraction while working with my guys to get us in the Chase."

FoxSports.com reported on Sunday that one of the offers in question was from Stewart-Haas Racing, although Busch himself would neither confirm nor deny this speculation. An approach from SHR would certainly be a surprise given that the team had appeared to rule out any possibility of running a fourth car in the near future, after announcing last month that current driver Ryan Newman would be let go at the end of the season in order to make way for the arrival of Kevin Harvick in the squad alongside Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick.

Ironically, Newman is now the team's best chance to get into Chase contention this season. He's currently in 15th place in the standings, with Patrick in 27th and Stewart sidelined for the rest of the year because of his broken leg. Meanwhile SHR is yet to find a considerable proportion of the necessary sponsorship funding for Harvick's full 36-race season next year, and has said that there was no realistic chance at finding the money to run a fourth team for Newman.

“I truly wish we were able to facilitate four teams at this time,” Stewart had lamented when Newman's exit from the team was announced. “We are just not able to do that. Down the road I'm sure if that becomes a possibility that he will most definitely will be on the list to fill the fourth seat again."

But speaking with the media on Monday to announce the appointment of Cup veteran Mark Martin as Stewart's replacement for the rest of 2013, SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli appeared to confirm that the team was considering the feasibility of adding Busch to its line-up next season.




Related Pictures

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Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick of Stewart Haas Racing on January 21, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jamey Price/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified third Friday, May 17, 2013 for the 40-lap Sprint Showdown race that will determine two of the entries for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Chevrolet)
Kurt Busch, driver of NASCAR Sprint Cup #78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet SS, posted the second-fastest time of 111.297 seconds and average speed of 144.068 mph Friday, May 17, 2013 to earn a front row position for the 29th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Chevrolet)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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