Kyle Busch didn’t have an outright update on his future Saturday morning at Watkins Glen, but the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion still seemed to give away plenty in his answers.
He reiterated his ongoing contract negotiations have been difficult, with a lot of sleepless nights. It’s not as simple as finding a team that wants the veteran driver — or can pay him — because Busch also has a family to think about, plus his Camping World Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“[Competing for wins is] certainly top of the list,” Busch said. “You want to be able to go somewhere that you feel like you have a legit shot to race [and] to win. Trust me, I don’t feel like it’s fair to me or my family, or anything else, if we’re going to have to spend less time together moving forward because we are going to have to change our lifestyle; no question. There’s a big change coming.
“Is it worth it to go run around and not have an opportunity to win right away versus building something versus jumping in something that can win? All those questions are certainly being weighed. Again, that’s also why it’s not so simple and so easy. Thankfully there are opportunities out there.
“There are Cup jobs available, but again, it will not look the same as what it has for the last 15 years.”
Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing have been trying to put a deal together for a while, and Busch has fielded questions about it for months. Mars Inc. is leaving the organization and the sport, and no other companies have stepped up. A deal with Oracle, a potential sponsor that came to light recently, ended up falling through.
As things have progressed, he has publicly stated he’ll take concessions on his next contract and race for less than his market value. Busch, Gibbs, and Toyota have all been vocal about keeping him in the family, but all parties involved haven’t hidden how challenging it’s been to put something together when there is no sponsor money on the table.
Asked if he was given any clarity on whether returning to JGR and being in the No. 18 Toyota again next season was still an option, Busch said, “That has not been told to me. Not yet.”
He also hears the comments about how much money he makes and that he should be fine. While he agrees, he still wants to keep doing what he loves.
“I’m a racer; I’ve only ever known how to race, nothing else,” he said. “I’m trying to do other business projects and things like that, but none of them have really blown up and taken off, so it has been hard, and figuring out all of that is certainly tough.
“And the last time I went through this was 15 years ago, and it was a learning experience. It was hard then, too, but it was nothing like now. Then it was me, myself and I. I didn’t have Samantha, I didn’t have a son, a daughter. All I had was an agent that was helping me, and now I’m kind of all on my own doing it, along with Samantha and the family. But I’m going through many of the same things, but it’s way, way harder because now you have Kyle Busch Motorsports you have to think about, you’ve got a building you’ve got to pay on.
“There’s a lot, a lot, a lot, of pieces, and that’s why it’s not so simple. If you look at each aspect of my life, which some of you may not know or fully know, there’s just a lot. Trying to take care of all those pieces and make sure everything goes as it was or as it has been the last few years would certainly be nice.”