Stewart-Haas Racing is set to confirm that it has signed Kurt Busch to race for them in an expanded four-car line-up in 2014, according to media reports on Monday.

The team itself has yet to confirm the news, but has sent out a media alert that it will be holding a press conference at 2pm ET on Tuesday afternoon featuring team co-owner Gene Haas and competition director Greg Zipadelli, with the subject listed as being the "future expansion of Stewart-Haas Racing."

The event will take place at the SHR headquarters at Kannapolis in North Carolina. No further details were forthcoming from the team, which deferred all media enquiries to Tuesday's press conference. However a statement from Busch's current team, Furniture Row Racing, confirmed that the driver would leave them at the end of the current season.

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"It was always our intention to extend Kurt's contract with Furniture Row Racing," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "We made him an offer last week to to continue as the driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in 2014 and beyond. Though he did not accept our offer we respect his decision and wish him future success."

ESPN.com was quick to report that no less a source than Kurt Busch himself had confirmed to them that he had signed a "multiyear contract" to drive for SHR in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition from the start of the 2014.

"I'm going to Stewart-Haas," the website reports Busch as telling them on Monday morning. "I've signed my deal."

It's understood that Busch received the offer to drive for SHR just a week ago, after which he received a counter-offer from his current race team Furniture Row Racing who were bidding to retain his services.

After several years failing to make a significant impression in Cup competition, Furniture Row Racing's fortunes have been turned around this season after they secured Busch's services on a one-year contract. He's currently in the running to put the #78 car into the Chase, which would be a huge achievement for the one-car operation - although a damaged wheel hub last weekend dropped Busch out of the all-important top ten again with only two races remaining before the Chase cut-off.

Busch landed at Furniture Row Racing after a stormy couple of years. Originally coming to Cup racing with Roush Fenway Racing with whom he won the championship in 2004, Busch split with RFR the following year and took up a race seat at Penske Racing. However that association came to an acrimonious end after the 2011 season with Busch leaving "by mutual agreements" after some very public rows with the team and owner Roger Penske.

That left Busch without a full time seat for 2012 at very short notice, but he landed the seat of the #51 car with the appropriately-named but cash-strapped Phoenix Racing, which did indeed help repair his damaged reputation and standing in the sport. Together with some strong outings for his brother Kyle's new Nationwide Series team, Busch was soon snapped up by Furniture Row Racing to replace Regan Smith in the #78. Although he hasn't been able to secure a race win during the year, his run to possible Chase contention proved once and for all that he deserved a full race seat with a top team.

The hiring will also be a huge step for Stewart-Haas Racing itself. Just two years ago they were a mid-level two-car team and their biggest asset was team co-owner and lead driver Tony Stewart. His astonishing run to a third Cup title at the end of 2011 confirmed his superstar status in the sport.

The team added Danica Patrick to their line up from the start of 2013 and had already confirmed that they had signed Kevin Harvick from Richard Childress Racing for the start of 2014. At the time the team said that there was no chance of expanding to a four-car team, and so Ryan Newman was told that his contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season.

That was why the speculation that SHR were courting Busch at Michigan two weekends ago caught many by surprise and the rumour was widely regarded as at best optimistic and at worst downright pure fantasy. But today's media alert together with ESPN's exclusive confirmation with Busch had demonstrated how quickly fantasy can become reality in the world of NASCAR if the right name comes along who can unlock that previously elusive sponsorship backing required.

Speculation peaked over the race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, when Kurt Busch was seen wishing Patrick good luck before the cars rolled off pit road for the Cup night race and then going over and playfully punching Zipadelli on the arm as the two laughed and joked.

Zipadelli said that with Tony Stewart currently sidelined with a broken leg, it was team co-owner Gene Haas who decided to make a run at signing Busch. "He has always liked Kurt," Zipadelli said. "We had talked about Kurt last year of putting him in the #39 and things just didn't work out ... This just kind of got sprung on us 14 days ago or less. It's kind of all come down. Gene just showed some interest and having the ability to put something together."

With a line-up of Stewart, Harvick, Busch and Patrick for 2014, SHR will unquestionably vault up from the mid-league right into the forefront of the sport's powerhouse teams, right up there with the likes of Roush Fenway Racing, Hendrick Motorsport, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing.

As well as driver talent, SHR have just signed up highly regarded crew chief Rodney Childers to head up Harvick's operation in 2014. Childers has won three Sprint Cup races with Michael Waltrip Racing, most recently last month with Brian Vickers.

However, Busch insisted that he wouldn't be getting ahead of himself and that his focus remained on working with Furniture Row Racing for the remaining 12 Cup races of the current championship campaign.

"Come Wednesday [after the press conference], that's all I'm going to think about," he said.

Meanwhile, Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said on Saturday that he was already looking at alternatives for the #78 race seat should Busch decide to leave, with Ryan Newman one name mentioned and Juan Pablo Montoya another leading contender after his contract at Earnhardt-Ganassi was not renewed for 2014.

"We are currently in a search process for a new driver in 2014, one who shares the same commitment and winning attitude that we all do at Furniture Row Racing," said Garone, who went on to compliment Kurt Busch's contribution to the team in 2013. "His driving skill and being a dedicated team player will always be appreciated at Furniture Row Racing, but for right now the main focus for Kurt and the team is to qualify for the Chase and contend for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series championship."