For the past two years, Kurt Busch has blistered the Sprint Cup field with two straight Chase appearances and three wins. He’s done all of this without a primary sponsor, as Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas has funded the car under Haas Automation.
That’s expected to change on Wednesday as Busch will announce a partnership with Monster Energy for the 2016 season. No specifics have been announced, but Haas did acknowledge that the new deal might clash with Clint Bowyer’s potential 5-Hour Energy sponsor in 2017.
“I think there is a conflict there—but that’s not a problem,” Haas told Motorsport.com. “Right now, if you have a current sponsor, you typically will favor them over a sponsor you don’t have. Those are the issues you have to go through and sort out. If you’re negotiating with one sponsor, what does he want in relationship with other sponsors. But that’s pretty typical in contracts.”
The clashing of sponsors hasn’t hurt Hendrick Motorsports, who has both Nationwide and Farmer’s insurance companies for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, respectively. Busch and Bowyer might be on the same team in 2017, but they have different fan bases that will support the drivers and sponsors.
Monster has been a primary sponsor for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Kurt’s brother’s team, since 2012 and partnered with Kurt at Phoenix Racing previously. There is no word yet one whether or not Monster will remain with KBM on the No. 54 Xfinity Series car for 2016.
Having a massive sponsor like Monster Energy to kick off 2016 would be a stark difference from the start to this year. Busch was suspended for the first three races for allegations from ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll of domestic violence. Since his return, Busch received a Chase waiver, won two races and is now one of the final 12 drivers competing for a title.
A sponsor with Monster is yet another sign of how far he has come with SHR, as well. Just three years ago, Busch was blazing a trail for Furniture Row Racing as its first Chase driver. Now not only will he have a ride with a top-tier team, but also a sponsor backing him outside