Friday, 24 January 2020

NASCAR Cup Series: Will Kurt Busch return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2020? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Cup Series: Will Kurt Busch return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2020? – Beyond the Flag
05 Sep

Will Kurt Busch return to Chip Ganassi Racing for what would be his second year with the team in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season?

After spending five seasons driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, Kurt Busch was replaced by Daniel Suarez behind the wheel of the #41 Ford for the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Before Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed that Suarez would be his replacement, however, Busch and sponsor Monster Energy reached a contract agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 41-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native to drive the #1 Chevrolet.

Jamie McMurray had been the driver of the #1 Chevrolet, but he stepped away from full-time Cup Series competition after the 2018 season ended.

Aside of Suarez’s arrival at Stewart-Haas Racing, this news had been reported months before it was actually confirmed.

But what remains unconfirmed to this day pertains to Busch’s future with Chip Ganassi Racing beyond the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Will he be back behind the wheel of the #1 Chevrolet next year?

Performance-wise, it would be crazy for Chip Ganassi Racing to think that they could go out and sign somebody better than Busch for the 2020 season.

He sits in seventh place in the championship standings with a victory at Kentucky Speedway, the team’s lone victory since the 2017 regular season finale when Kyle Larson won at Richmond Raceway, and he boasts the fifth best average finish among all drivers.

That said, there have been rumors that Ross Chastain will be promoted to the team next season.

Chastain was slated to drive for the team in the Xfinity Series this season after impressing them in three starts late last season by leading a bunch of laps and securing his first career victory, but that deal fell through due to legal issues involving the team’s primary sponsor, DC Solar. As a result, they did not field a team in the series, but Chastain is clearly still on their radar.

There really isn’t a whole lot of doubt that Chastain would excel at the Cup Series level given what he has done in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series when in solid equipment.

However, passing up on at least another season of Busch simply does not seem like a viable option for Chip Ganassi Racing, especially since Chastain is slated to land a competitive ride in the Truck Series or the Xfinity Series next year anyway.

In addition, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern has reported that an official deal that would keep Busch and Monster Energy with Chip Ganassi Racing next year is nearing.

Monster Energy, which will not be the title sponsor of the Cup Series next season due to the implementation of the series’ new sponsorship model, are even expected to double their investment as the sponsor of the #1 Chevrolet.

At this point, it appears as though the only reason that the news about Busch returning to Chip Ganassi Racing next year has not been confirmed has to do with the fact that a sponsorship agreement with Monster Energy is still in the works. Once this deal is solidified, Busch will likely be back behind the wheel of the #1 Chevrolet.

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Will Kurt Busch return to Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, or will he be replaced behind the wheel of the #1 Chevrolet? If he is replaced, will he be replaced by Ross Chastain? Expect to know more about this situation as the 2019 season winds down.



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