DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Contract negotiations have a history of complications for Kurt Busch.
Last year, Stewart-Haas declined to pick up his option but later re-signed the 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
This year, though SHR has expressed a desire to retain all four drivers in its stable — Busch, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola — Busch has yet to talk turkey with team principals.
Busch, 39, is in his fourth season with SHR, having been hired initially by team co-owner Gene Haas. Busch is currently seventh in the series standings, but he hasn’t won a race since the 2017 Daytona 500. Both the driver and crew chief Billy Scott, who called the shots for Danica Patrick last year, know they have to pick up their performance.
“We have to ramp up to that next step, and you do that with teamwork and a lot a research behind the scenes to look at numbers and predict better patterns for the races,” Busch said. “We were a competitive car at Chicago (last Sunday). We almost won Stage 2. Then, the second half of the race, the car went awful tight.
“If we really jump into the numbers on things, Billy was with Danica last year, and some of their race day notes aren’t as solid as they needed to be when you’re trying to compete against guys like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. That’s the level we’ve got to get to the second half of this year.”
If that happens, Busch’s contract might just take care of itself.