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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/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Johnson advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with his daughter, Ella Sofia Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory win Sunday, September 28, 2014 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Gordon advances to the Contender 12 phase of the Chase which begins next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick drives the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road after cutting a tyre during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, lead the field to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 27, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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