So the word it out now that Kurt Busch is joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Kurt has had a truly remarkable year in that No. 78 car this season. They are on the verge of making the Chase, and this weekend at Atlanta and next weekend at Richmond will tell the tale.
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Regardless, if they don’t happen to make the Chase, Kurt and the No. 78 team have turned a lot of heads this year.
Stewart-Haas Racing is gaining a former champion who knows how to win. They are obviously willing to give Kurt a shot and look past the issues he has or had. I am really interested to see how this dynamic will work when you put Kurt together with co-owner Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick who will also be joining SHR beginning in 2014.
We might want to go ahead and rename Tony, Kevin and Kurt the “Wild Bunch.” All three are not afraid to speak their mind. They all can be volcanic at times. The really cool thing, though, is they can also be very dynamic when they are behind the wheel of a race car.
What’s also interesting is that in the past, Kevin and Kurt have had more than one run-in with each other. This year, Kurt has been driving for Furniture Row which has a strategic alliance with Richard Childress Racing, for which Kevin drives. Kevin has been very vocal this year in praising Kurt for the type of feedback and information that he has been willing to share with the RCR group.
Can rivals put things behind them? They sure can. Remember the bitter rivalry once shared between Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip? Then remember in 1998 when Dale asked Darrell to drive for him when Steve Park was injured at Atlanta early that year? It was a show of respect and confidence that two former and very bitter rivals had for each other.
No matter how much conflict you have with someone on the racetrack, you can’t ignore their talent when it serves a purpose that makes both sides better. Dale needed Darrell and Darrell didn’t let him down.
So, yes, I believe Kurt and Kevin will be just fine as teammates next year. They both are professional and smart enough to see the value to look past what happened on the track and see the bigger picture of the value of being teammates.