DENVER - It would be like Peyton Manning announcing with 10 games to go in the season that he's leaving the Broncos to play with another team.
Monday, Kurt Busch announced that he's leaving Furniture Row Racing after this season. It has left the team now looking for a new driver with still a dozen races to go and Busch in 12th place in points in driver rankings.
"It's a bit like a divorce. Things are going good and you're getting along great and you kinda become part of each other and it gets ripped apart," team manager Joe Garone said. "It takes a little bit of time to get over that, and so it gives us time to reflect and move on to our next adventure."
Both Furniture Row and Busch say the fact that he's moving on should not impact the rest of this season.
"I'm as fired up as ever to deliver these guys to an area they never thought was achievable," Kurt Busch said. "At the same time, I have the future in front of me with Stewart Haas Racing and to know that when you're starting out with a team like this and you have teammates like Stewart and Harvick and Danica, we're going to try to put all of the cars in the Chase next year."
"We're going to hit the race track as dedicated as we've ever been. I know Kurt is, too," Garone said. "He wants to win races. He wants to win it with this team and he's genuine about it. That's what we're going to focus on."
Busch will race for Stewart Haas Racing in 2014 alongside drivers Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart. This season with Furniture Row, he's six markers shy of 10th with two races remaining before the Chase field is set. The top 10 drivers and two wildcard entries quality for the 10 race Chase playoffs.
As for a new driver for Furniture Row? Garone did throw out a few names Tuesday: AJ Allmendinger, Juan Pablo Montoya and David Ragan, but also talked about bringing up a younger driver and growing him into the next NASCAR champion.
This is arguably the best season for Denver based Furniture Row in the Sprint Cup Series. It's the only NASCAR team based west of the Mississippi. When asked: "What's the pinnacle?" Garone answered: "Sprint Cup Championship." When asked "When do you think that could happen?" Garone replied without hesitation: "Could happen this year."