NASCAR Cup champion Kurt Busch will leave Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the season to join Chip Ganassi Racing, Autosport has learned.
Multiple sources have suggested 2004 champion Busch will drive Ganassi’s #1 Chevrolet Camaro, replacing veteran Jamie McMurray – who is in the last year of his current contract with the team.
Formal confirmation of the move does not appear to be imminent, while a spokesman for Ganassi said the team does not discuss its driver contract discussions in public.
Asked for a comment, a SHR spokesperson provided the following statement: “Stewart-Haas Racing does not comment on the status of its contracts, be it driver or partner related. We appreciate your understanding.”
Busch, who has driven for SHR since ’14, will take one of his main sponsors, Monster Energy, with him.
He signed a one-year contract extension with SHR in December, after the team originally declined to agree to renew the deal.
In an interview last month, Busch said he had not yet begun talks with SHR about another extension.
“I’ve just been racing, driving and performing, doing all the things I can do to exceed in all categories, whether it’s team-mate things, things on the track,” he said.
“I don’t know many drivers that have a primary sponsor with them. Monster Energy has been very loyal to me.
“It’s just a matter of when the time is to start talking about a contract. Last year, it went long just because I felt I deserved more.”
Busch has claimed five of his 29 Cup career wins with SHR, including last year’s Daytona 500, while he is fourth in this year’s points standings despite not having won a race in 2018.
Sources have indicated SHR is expected to continue to field four cars next season, but the team is unlikely to promote its full-time Xfinity series driver Cole Custer to a Cup seat.
Now in his 16th full-time season in the Cup series, McMurray has seven career wins, all but two of which he has scored with Ganassi (the others were with Roush Fenway Racing). His most recent victory was at Talladega in 2013.
He is currently 22nd in the standings – outside the playoff cutoff – with one top-five and four top-10 finishes.