Tony Stewart’s season goes up in Smoke, but not his race team for 2014



I am sorry, Smoke, but you must sit — for the next three months.

And I don’t mean inside your stock car.

One of the biggest names in NASCAR is Tony Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion and part-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. Tony Stewart is also Danica Patrick’s boss, as One Lap Downica herself races the No. 10 Chevrolet for SHR.

But Tony Stewart broke his leg in two places on Aug. 5, racing in a sprint car race in Iowa, had two surgeries a few days later and now is done for the season (nice going there, big guy). If you don’t know what sprint cars look like, picture space-age looking go-karts. Tony Stewart’s car flipped over and snap went his leg.

Monday, the same day that SHR announced that Tony Stewart is donezo for the rest of the year, the team also said that Mark Martin will fill in for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet through the season finale at Homestead-Miami in November. The one race Mark Martin won’t do is the Oct. 20 date at Talladega.

But that’s not really what had the NASCAR world all a-Twitter today, from a fan’s point of view. Marty Smith of ESPN, who gets every scoop known to mankind when it comes to NASCAR, found out that SHR offered a ride to Kurt Busch for 2014.

Why is this news getting people so riled up? Because a few months ago, Tony Stewart told Ryan Newman, the third driver in the SHR fleet for 2013, that his contract wasn’t being renewed. So who does SHR get to replace Ryan Newman? Kevin Harvick, who is a good friend of Tony Stewart’s and whose wife, Delana, got her ass grabbed by Tony Stewart on pit road at the Chicagoland Speedway last fall. The ass grab went viral and women’s groups were calling for Tony Stewart to apologize. He didn’t.

But I digress.

Ok, so SHR was giving NASCAR fans the impression it will still have a three-car shop for 2014: Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick. Tony Stewart had said many times that fielding three cars was as far as SHR would go.

Now it comes out that SHR is luring Kurt Busch, who is a one-man team over at Furniture Row Racing. If Kurt Busch accepts, then SHR will have a four-car operation for 2014.

The move is leaving NASCAR fans shaking their heads and asking: Did Tony Stewart lie to Ryan Newman? Was he planning on offering Kurt Busch all along? Marty Smith reported Monday that the deal came together quickly.

And Ryan Newman, a 2001 Purdue graduate originally from South Bend, Ind., who won the Brickyard 400 in July, is without a ride for next year. It makes you feel really bad for the guy. I wonder how much Ryan Newman wanted to rub that Brickyard victory in his boss’s face.

Maybe Ryan Newman can at least laugh it off now, since he’s the only driver left at SHR who has a legitimate shot at making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Because you know One Lap Downica certainly won’t.

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