'I'd hire Kyle Busch today'

‘I’d hire Kyle Busch today’

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Kyle Busch’s openness about the unresolved nature of his contract status for 2023 has had a ripple effect for other teams in the NASCAR Cup Series garage. The two-time Cup champion admitted he has bought his services for other organizations as talks for a return to Joe Gibbs racing have lagged.

When asked about a possible link between Bush and Stewart-Haas Racing for next season, senior SHR politician Kevin Harvick did not hold back.

“I will be hiring Kyle Bush today, because he will have a huge impact on our team’s performance, and just a few things need to get better,” Harwick said.

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Bush shed new light on stalled talks in candid comments Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying that “obviously, it’s a mess right now.” Bush said he was willing to rejoin JGR for a salary under its current value in the free-agent market.

SHR currently fields Fords for Harwick, Eric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer in the Cup Series, and Almirola has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season. Of those four, only Brisco has won this year. Harvick sits on a post-season bubble but is the top-ranked SHR driver in the series standings in 10th place, trailing Almirola (13th), Brisco (16th) and Custer (26th).

Harvick would not say whether SHR Kyle Bush was a player in the derby, saying only that Stewart-Haas management had not contacted him about Bush. But he spoke candidly of Bush’s prospects and skills.

“There’s no way Kyle Bush doesn’t have a lot of options,” Harwick said. “So, you know, I know there’s a lot of stuff going on around Kyle. But in the end, Kyle is still one of the best to come through this garage. So there’s a lot of teams out there who can say that they probably didn’t even have one of those types of drivers. You could literally rebuild the whole organization if someone took the chance that didn’t have one of those types of drivers. With the right circumstances, you One can rebuild an entire organization with his pure talent.”

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Harvick has had on-track differences with Bush in the past, most notably in the 2011 season when their rivalry peaked at Darlington Raceway. But after those differences were long gone, Harvick said the prospect of Bush as a teammate would raise the performance bar.

“I get on very well with Kyle,” Harwick said. “We would run over and get mad at each other, but I have a good relationship with Kyle, but I can tell you that having a partner like Kyle makes my car go faster. Because when you have all the cars fast So, I’m 100% open to having Kyle as a teammate. I think that particular example in itself is something I think.. . I don’t even know, I haven’t heard a single talk about it from my organization. So I don’t even know what car it’s for, what car it isn’t. I don’t even know what conversation will be taken.”

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