Kurt Busch calls time on full-time Cup career, Reddick to make early 23XI switch

Motorsport Images

Kurt Busch calls time on full-time Cup career, Reddick to make early 23XI switch


Kurt Busch calls time on full-time Cup career, Reddick to make early 23XI switch


Kurt Busch made it official on Saturday morning in his hometown that he will not compete full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023.

“This NASCAR village is my home and I love it here,” a statement on Busch’s Twitter page read, which he also read in the Las Vegas media center. “28 years ago, I stood in this area of the desert and took a glamour shot with my first race car, which I built with my dad and my family. Racing is all I have ever known. My passion, worth ethic, and persistence have helped me reach all the dreams that a kid could dream.

“There is not one reason why or one person or one circumstance that has made a stronger difference than another. It has taken everything and everyone. With that said, I know I’m not 100% in my ability to go out and race at the top level in the NASCAR Cup Series. These are the best of the best drivers and lately, I haven’t felt my best.

“The doctors have come to the conclusion that it is best for me to ‘shut it down’ for this season. Even though I have made solid gains since I have been working with top specialists, and the team at Toyota Performance Center, I’m still not 100% and I’m still not cleared to compete.

“As I continue to focus on my health and work towards being cleared, I will be stepping away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition in 2023. My long-term health is priority No. 1, and I don’t feel committing at this point to compete for a championship next year is in my best interest or the best interest of the team.”

Busch, the 2004 series champion, suffered a concussion during a qualifying crash at Pocono Raceway in July. He has not raced since.

Tyler Reddick has been released from Richard Childress Racing early and will drive the No. 45 at 23XI Racing next season. Reddick was slated to join the organization in 2024.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with 23XI and this team of wonderful professionals and appreciate the support they have shown me over the last few months,” continued Busch. “I will continue to work with this group with the wisdom and knowledge gained from the Ph.D. I’ve earned in this garage area. We’re building something special here and I look forward to continuing working with Bubba [Wallace] off the track as well as Tyler Reddick, who will join the team next year to drive the No. 45 Toyota.

Busch will continue to work for 23XI alongside Bubba Wallace (L) and new signing Tyler Reddick (Rusty Jarrett/NKP/Motorsport Images)

“I will continue to be a brand ambassador with Monster Energy who are my family. Our fraternity and sorority of athletes are the best of the best. Monster Energy and I have been together for over a decade and been around the world conquering a ‘lifestyle in a can.’

“Toyota and TRD remain part of my future as well. They have embraced me like a long-lost brother, and I’m grateful for this support. We will continue going places together.”

A statement from Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson read, “Kurt’s decision to step away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition next year is certainly not something anyone expected when we started the season together and celebrated in victory lane at Kansas Speedway earlier this year.

“Unfortunate circumstances led Kurt to a difficult decision, but we know that he will continue to contribute to the entire program at Toyota, TRD and 23XI Racing. He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and firsthand championship experience to his team and fellow Toyota competitors. We’re here to support Kurt in this next chapter of his career and look forward to continuing to work alongside him.”

Busch joined 23XI Racing this season in a second car for the organization. A win at Kansas Speedway was the second for the organization and initially qualified Busch for the playoffs – which would have been the first appearance for 23XI Racing in the postseason – but he withdrew his spot when knowing he wasn’t going to be able to compete.

Busch’s career in the Cup Series began in 2000 with Jack Roush. In 23 years, other owners Busch has driven for include Roger Penske, Tony Stewart and Chip Ganassi.

In 776 starts, Busch has 34 career wins.

“And to all the NASCAR fans, I can’t thank you enough for your support throughout the journey this year and all the years,” Busch said. “Your notes and words of encouragement have meant a lot to me. I’ve also been blessed throughout my career to race with so many great teams, teammates and sponsors. All those people I’ve met along the way have made the journey up to now that much more special.

“I’m still competitive, passionate, and I want to continue to perform at my core values, and to give back to a community that has been my life since I left Las Vegas to pursue a professional racing career over 22 years ago. Next year my contributions to racing may look a little different, but I will continue to give my best to this sport. And, if I’m cleared, maybe you’ll see me at select races.”