Kurt Busch called joining Chip Ganassi Racing a “tremendous opportunity” for him to continue winning races and contending for championships in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Busch and Ganassi made their long-rumored partnership official on Tuesday; with the 2004 Cup champion and NASCAR veteran set to drive the No.1 Chevrolet as teammate to Kyle Larson.
“I feel like it’s a good mesh with Kyle Larson,” said Busch. “[That’s] something that Chip and I talked about; the driver lineup and the way we wanted to go into 2019 and attack – go right out of the gate, and go for wins and get this program where it needs to be.”
Ganassi acknowledged that it’s not often a driver with Busch’s resume becomes available.
“I can tell you this, I’ve had calls from two different people at his previous team saying they were going to miss him and they liked him around the shop,” Ganassi said of Busch. “They liked him how he got involved with the cars, they liked his input, they liked what he did as a builder of the team and as a teammate.
“So, I think anytime you can have a veteran guy like that, that a) knows how to win races, but b) is a good guy in the locker room per se. I think that brings something to our team that I think will only enhance a young guy like a Larson, or any of the other young guys we have that maybe don’t have the years of experience that put a little gray hair on me from time to time.”
With rumors of this move having started back during the summer, Busch admitted the delay in the announcement had to do with him running well at Stewart-Haas Racing in addition to wanting his CGR introduction to roll out in a cool way. Busch finished seventh in the 2018 standings with one win, coming up short of making the championship round.
Busch does not expect anything different going from a four-car team like Stewart-Haas Racing to the two at CGR. Ganassi will be the sixth team Busch has competed for in the Cup Series.
“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,” said Busch. “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.”