Last year when I learned that Kevin Harvick was moving to Stewart-Haas Racing, I was initially hoping that meant a four car team at SHR. But Stewart said that wasn't the case, SHR wasn't ready to expand yet. That meant that Tony's other buddy, Ryan Newman, would be out of a job at the end of 2013.
Background was that Newman was losing a few sponsors, and Harvick would bring Budweiser aboard with their monster checkbook. Sponsorship dollars is the lifeblood of auto racing, and Tony's no fool -- he needs bucks as well as talented drivers to be successful. I thought that sucked, still do in fact, but I accepted it as part of the business. A yucky part, but still . . .
So I'm a bit taken aback this morning when I pick up the paper and see that Kurt Busch is joining SHR on a fourth team.
When I got off work, I shot over to NASCAR's crappy website (yes, it is crappy, too many widgets and doodads, just give me the news guys, okay?) and there's a couple of stories about Busch joining SHR. And there's the kicker buried a few paragraphs in -- co-owner Gene Haas went behind Tony Stewart's back and brought Busch on board!
Apparently, Haas is a big fan of Busch, and with Kurt's contract up at Front Row at the end of this year, ole Gene figured he better get in there quickly and snap Busch up. Using his own company, Haas Automation, as a sponsor, SHR is now a four car team. They're having to expand the shop to accommodate the extra team (plus a padded room for Busch according to Greg Zippadelli) and reports are that resumes are flooding in to fill the new crew positions as well.
Haas admits in interviews that Stewart wasn't pleased at the news. I guess not. Tony had to let his buddy Newman go, telling him they couldn't afford an extra team, and now his co-owner just ups and bogarts him by picking up Busch. I think it's a good thing Tony's stuck in a hospital bed with his broken leg, because I can imagine the fireworks that might have erupted otherwise.
Not sure how this will all play out in 2014. That's three very "alpha" dogs under one roof there, and where that leaves Danica is a good question as well. Kind of painfully obvious, but this will either be lightning in a bottle or a complete disaster for SHR.