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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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