Knowing the market is different from what it was years ago, Kyle Busch acknowledged Saturday he’s willing to take concessions and race under his value with his next deal in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“Whatever that comes to be, obviously it’s a negotiation,” Busch said. “And [we’re] trying to figure out where I go and what the long-term play is, what the short-term play is, and hopefully not being able to go through this again.”
Money, when it comes to his salary — according to Busch — has not been an objective or the issue in why he has yet to sign a new deal. With sponsor Mars leaving at the end of the year, Joe Gibbs needs to fill a big hole on the No. 18 Toyota in addition to re-signing Busch, who is a 60-time winner in the series.
“It’s tough, right? You’ve got to have sponsorship in this sport to be able to go forward,” Busch said. “It’s not as simple as being a basketball player and being a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James…and being a really good player, and the team losing a sponsor and then saying, ‘OK, Michael, LeBron, we’ve got to let you guys go because we can’t afford you.’
“Again, you have to have some sponsorship on that car, and unfortunately, right now, there’s not that unicorn. There’s not that big $20 million number out there. I’d like to be able to piece it together but haven’t heard much on that yet either.”
Mars informed Joe Gibs Racing of its plans to exit the sport last year. Busch has repeatedly faced questions about his future and admits there have been a lot of sleepless nights. He last signed a deal with Gibbs in 2019.
While the two-time Cup Series champion remains committed to working out a deal and staying with the organization he joined in 2008, Busch admitted “every week” there are talks with other teams. Busch would not reveal which teams or what other options he has.
He also doesn’t have a deadline on when he wants a deal done. Gibbs, said Busch, hasn’t put a drop-dead date on when a contract needs to be finalized either.
“Anything is on the table,” Busch said about taking a one-year deal to stay with Gibbs. “We’re talking ’23 options, we’re talking ’24 options, we’re talking long term — everybody, everything. The whiteboard is quite full.”