Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch turned in the fastest lap during a practice session at Road America on July 3. He topped his brother Kyle and set himself up for a strong qualifying session on July 4. Busch later met with NASCAR media members and explained that he is pushing harder after Trackhouse Racing purchased CGR.
“You drive harder, push deeper, and push harder when news like that comes out,” Busch told reporters after his practice session, per Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “It was a surprise to me, but all of us at Ganassi looked at each other and said, ‘we’ve got a playoff berth right in front of us. Let’s go get it. Let’s win and push as hard as we can here, right now in 2021.”
Prior to Trackhouse Racing’s purchase of CGR’s NASCAR operations, Busch was set to become a free agent. His contract with the team expires at the end of the season. He had previously discussed a potential return to the No. 1 CGR Chevrolet Camaro, but now his contract talks will take another turn.
Busch Learned About the Purchase Later Than His Peers
Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suarez appeared on NASCAR Race Hub on Wednesday, June 30, and showcased his excitement about the major move. He also revealed that he learned about the purchase one day prior to the press conference featuring team owner Justin Marks and Chip Ganassi.
Busch did not learn about the career-changing move in the same manner. He actually had no idea anything happened until well after the fact. He was preparing for the trip to Road America by running some virtual laps around the Wisconsin road course.
“I went into the Chevy simulator, and I came back out, and my phone had 200 messages on it,” Busch added during his media availability. “I’m like, ‘something happened today.'”
Days after learning about the team’s fate, Busch is back in action preparing for another race. However, he is not letting the upcoming move disrupt his performance on the track. Instead, the 2004 Cup Series champion is pushing harder to get the No. 1 CGR Chevrolet Camaro in Victory Lane.
Busch Will Continue to Have Discussions With Trackhouse
When Marks announced the purchase of CGR, he faced several questions about the identity of his second driver. Suarez has a spot secure in the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro, but there is an open seat for 2022. Will Busch or teammate Ross Chastain take this spot, or will Marks look for another option?
The Trackhouse co-owner told reporters that the current CGR drivers are the top two options in the immediate aftermath of the purchase. The team will talk to Busch and Chastain first and then make a decision about the future of the second car and whether to bring in an outside driver to take the seat.
Busch told reporters on July 3 that he has already talked to Marks once. They met prior to the purchase and talked about him potentially joining Trackhouse in 2022 as a second driver. They still have more to discuss, as Busch clarified. He explained that this deal changes the complexity of what they have discussed and what they still need to cover.