Ongoing questions about Kyle Busch’s future are expected to be answered with confirmation of a move to Richard Childress Racing in the coming days.
Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Toyota have been negotiating for months over a new contract for the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. It’s been a stressful situation for all involved, as longtime sponsor Mars, Inc. is departing the sport at the season’s end and Gibbs has seemingly been unable to land a new partner for Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
Busch has driven for Gibbs since 2008. In addition to earning two championships, 56 of his 60 race wins have come with Gibbs and Toyota. He is the most successful driver Toyota has worked with, and the manufacturer primarily supports Busch’s Camping World Truck Series organization.
It is unclear if Childress will expand to three cars for Busch or buy out Tyler Reddick’s contract. Reddick is leaving Childress at the end of the ’23 season for 23XI Racing. The next move for Busch’s Truck Series team Kyle Busch Motorsports is also unclear.
Confirmation of Busch’s plans, which were first reported by The Athletic, is expected Tuesday
During NASCAR Cup Series playoff media day last week, Busch acknowledged he had multiple contract offers in front of him, but he told the media on Saturday at Kansas Speedway he had no news to share.
“We’re still working on it behind the scenes trying to put it all together,” Busch said. “It’s not done.”
The partnership of Busch and Childress is an intriguing one considering their past. Tensions between the two sides came to a head in 2011 when Childress was fined $150,000 following a physical altercation with Busch after a Truck Series race in Kansas. Busch had made contact with a Childress driver, Joey Coulter, after the checkered flag.
Asked Saturday about potentially driving for Childress next year, Busch said, “Who’s to say he hasn’t punched me again in any of these conversations? Whenever you go into these negotiations, it’s never fun. So, you’re duking the whole time.
“I think you grow up and you work through things and you talk it over. It was fine the first time I sat down with him. Everything was OK and the biggest thing about it was just having the opportunity to kind of put that behind us. No different than going on the Dale Jr. Download and talking about 2008 and crashing at Richmond. You get through it and you talk about it, and life moves on.”