Kurt Busch And Monster Energy Join Chip Ganassi Racing For The 2019 Seasonby Hunter Thomas December 4, 2018 0 comments
On Tuesday, it was announced that Kurt Busch will pilot the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet during the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Busch, who is slated to enter his 19th full-time season, 20th overall on NASCAR’s top level, announced via Twitter on Sunday night that he wouldn’t be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing, where he has been competing since 2014. While nothing had previously been announced, rumors pointed towards Busch joining Chip Ganassi Racing and taking over the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Jamie McMurray. It turns out, those rumors were true. The 39-year-old will now race alongside of teammate, Kyle Larson at the organization while under a one-year contract.
“Well, this is a tremendous opportunity to go out and win races, to have a shot at the championship and to use my experience that I’ve gained over all these years with a group like Chip Ganassi Racing,” Busch said. “I feel like it’s a good mesh with Kyle Larson. Something that Chip and I talked about as far as the driver line-up and the way that we wanted to go into 2019 and attack and go right out of the gate and go for wins and get this program where it needs to be and what Chip has for his championship dreams.”
Team owner Chip Ganassi said that it didn’t take long to reach out to Busch once he became available. Not only was the 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion open to drive for another team, but he brought Monster Energy to Chip Ganassi Racing. These days, it’s a huge advantage if a driver can bring sponsorship to a team.
“I think first of all I think as anyone knows it’s not often times a NASCAR champion and a Daytona 500 winner comes available,” Ganassi said. “I think when you’ve got a guy that’s a racer like Kurt, who has certainly… with 30 Cup wins, he has won at every place like Daytona, Charlotte, Bristol, he has won the All-Star race of his bigger wins. You know, I think when somebody like that comes along you’ve got to take a serious look at him. It didn’t take me long to say yes, we he became available. Also, to bring on somebody like Monster is something we are pretty happy about. They have brought a lot to this sport of NASCAR and I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time to work with both of them.”
Busch believes that the two-car operation at Chip Ganassi Racing may provide for a more concentrated effort for the two teams and better communication between teammates.
“You know the way that I look at Ganassi and all of his motorsports platforms, I mean, IndyCar, SportsCar, NASCAR, all these champion type drivers and situations, there is nothing different with the quantity of the cars and equipment and effort,” Busch said. “What I see, is more of a quality with the two-car program with Larson and myself and streamlining the cars and having that transparency amongst the two. I don’t see much difference in it. I just see more of a concentrated effort in making sure that the cars go to the track and there is that communication that is completely black and white and wide open. That is what I’m looking forward to the most because sometimes in a four-car program if one car goes through tech, the other one might not necessarily go through the same way and then by the time you get to a fourth car things are very different. I just like a challenge with this whole thing of switching and going after a fresh start and having a guy like Kyle Larson who is going to teach me some things about how the new trend of driving style is going.”
Ganassi said on Tuesday that sponsors, McDonald’s and Cessna are “still on the team” despite McMurray not piloting the No. 1 Chevrolet.
As for McMurray staying involved with the team, Ganassi said, “Well, first of all, I do expect Jamie to stick around, yes. And as we talked about, we are going to have some announcements forthcoming on that subject.”
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com