Kurt Busch becomes Free Agent as contract is not renewed by Stewart-Haas Racing

Kurt Busch's contract has not been renewed by Stewart-Haas Racing for 2018, making him a free agent for next season.

Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on July 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on July 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kurt Busch has become the latest NASCAR driver to be named as a free agent for 2018 as Stewart-Haas Racing has told the 2017 Daytona 500 winner and former Cup Series champion that it will not retain him for next season.

Kurt Busch becomes Free Agent as contract is not renewed by Stewart-Haas Racing

Stewart-Haas Racing had until Tuesday to renew Busch’s contract for 2018 but has declined to do so. Busch could still resign for the team although he is expected to scrutinize the field for next season, with Richard Childress Racing and Furniture Row Racing both having vacant positions. However, sponsorship is likely to be a key requirement to secure a drive at either of these two teams.

A key part of Busch’s uncertainty at SHR is focused on NASCAR’s Cup Series title sponsor, Monster Energy, which is also a key sponsor for Busch’s #41 car. The energy drinks giant became the title sponsor of the Cup Series for 2017, and has to decide by the end of this year whether it will continue in that role.

Monster also holds an option with Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing – an option that the Nevada-born racer expects the company will pick up, saying in a recent interview that: “I know that [Monster] is working to try to sort out their issues with NASCAR and the entitlement sponsor, so there’s a lot of moving parts. But I don’t feel any fear whatsoever. I actually feel really confident on the sponsorship that I bring.”

Busch is now the latest on a long list of drivers which includes Matt Kenseth that will be switching teams next season. Busch joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 has has achieved an impressive set of results which includes five wins, 21 top five finishes, and 51 top ten finishes.

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