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Stewart-Haas Racing’s focus turns to filling No. 41 seat for 2018

Aric Almirola's relationship with Tony Stewart brought him to Stewart-Haas racing, while Stewart doesn't shut the door on racing in Xfinity.

With Stewart-Haas Racing announcing that Aric Almirola will drive the No. 10 next season, that leaves the team with one opening for next year.

Will Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch be back next year to drive the No. 41?

“We are in negotiations,’’ Busch said after winning the pole last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. “Days like today help quite a bit.”

The ride is open after Stewart-Haas Racing did not pick up the option on Busch’s contract for next year. The team did so because sponsor Monster Energy had not indicated if it would return. The team is awaiting notification from Monster Energy on its plans.

“We’re still working through all that,’’ co-owner Tony Stewart said at Texas. “Obviously it’s pretty busy right now. Obviously we’re going to have a big announcement … for the 10 car. We’re still working on the 41 right now.

“That’s our goal, is to have Kurt back in that car for next year.’’

Busch is completing his fourth season with the organization. He has five victories. Busch has finished in the top 10 the past two years and is 11th in the points with two races to go.

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