Reports: Kurt Busch's 2018 option declined, though SHR says it 'expects' him back

Busch won the 2017 Daytona 500. (Getty)

Is Kurt Busch going to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018?

Per multiple reports, including NBC Sports, Stewart-Haas has informed Busch that his 2018 contract option won’t be picked up by the team. Shortly after reports emerged that Busch’s option was being declined, Stewart-Haas issued this comment on his contract status while saying it didn’t comment on contract statuses.


Let’s dissect that statement for a minute. Nowhere in the tweet does SHR deny the reports that Busch’s contract isn’t being picked up. So we can safely assume that based off the credibility of the reports that they are true.

If we’re also to believe that SHR’s statement is correct in that it expects Busch back with the team in 2018, it’s reasonable to think it is “expecting” Busch to sign a new contract with the team after his contract option is declined.

Given how signifincantly the Cup Series driver and sponsor market has changed since Busch joined SHR in 2014, it’s fair to wonder if Busch’s 2018 contract option is above market rate at this time. If the terms of the contract are not what SHR would be wanting to pay, it could simply re-sign Busch to a team-friendlier deal.

Stewart-Haas has also said it’s waiting on Monster to officially renew its deal as a co-sponsor of Busch. The energy drink company joined before the 2016 season, a year before it became the title sponsor of the Cup Series. Monster could continue to sponsor Busch while also serving as the title sponsor of the Cup Series if it wanted. At a reported rate of $20 million for the entire series, it certainly could be affordable.

With Busch currently without a 2018 contract at SHR, the team now has just Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer signed to deals. It’s been previously reported by multiple outlets that Danica Patrick’s contract with the team is up at the end of the 2017 season.

Busch won the season-opening Daytona 500 and is qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!