By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The contract negotiations between Kurt Busch and Stewart Haas Racing show that there can be a lot of variables. Most drivers talk about the amount of money, sponsorship, and other obligations. One of the variables for Busch is unlike the others, the 2017 Daytona 500 winning car.
Busch piloted the No. 41 Haas Automation / Monster Energy Ford Fusion to victory in the Daytona 500, his first win in ‘The Great American Race.’ It was also the first victory for SHR in the historic race at Daytona International Speedway. Immediately after victory lane ceremonies ended in February earlier this year, the car was transported to the Daytona 500 Experience museum until just before the 2018 running of the season opener for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“Right now, I just hope I get a chance to visit the car,” Busch joked. “I was actually asking for that in my contract. The team wants to keep that car, but I know where to go to visit it. It would be great to try to back that up and try to put another car in the museum.”
Busch and SHR have been negotiating about their contract for several months now. Questions as to whether Monster Energy would return to the team for the same number of races, or in the same capacity, have been around since the news broke. Busch would only say that he and SHR were getting closer in their talks,
“We’re getting closer. It’s just small things like that. I wanted to have the Daytona 500 winning car, but they said no. Maybe I’ll get visitation rights to the car. We’re just working on the fine print.”
The Daytona 500 was the only victory for Busch in the 2017 season. He earned six top-fives, 15 top-10s, and just one pole position all season long. Busch finished 14th in the Playoffs, his worst points finish since the 2012 season. The 2004 NASCAR Premier Series Champion only led 16 laps all season, the fewest in his career as a full-time driver.
While Busch and SHR continue to negotiation, he looks forward to attempting to defend his 500 win in Daytona on February 18, 2018.