TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) – The only active multiple champion at NASCAR’s top level has no idea where he’ll be driving next year. But if not in the Cup Series, Kyle Busch can land a ride with his 6-year-old son.
“Brexiton Busch’s lorry driver,” the two-time champion joked about his plans on Saturday.
Busch has been sponsored by M&M’s since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, but the company informed the team before the season that it was leaving NASCAR at the end of that year. It kicked off a search for sponsors at JGR that will be key to securing Busch, who won last week at Bristol to tie Richard Petty with a win in 18 consecutive seasons.
Busch was pragmatic after Saturday qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway about his future in the No. 18 Toyota.
When would he like to know his plans for 2023?
Is he anxious in the face of uncertainty?
“I’m not mad about it. If it happens, it happens. If it’s not, it’s not. Goodbye.”
Wait, so leaving JGR is an option?
“Ask Joe Gibbs.”
Gibbs has not been made available to reporters since Busch’s win at Bristol, where he was joined last Sunday night by JGR vice-chairman Coy Gibbs.
“So I don’t directly deal with sponsorship stuff,” Coy Gibbs said. “I kind of stay on the competitive side. But we have a few people we talk to, so we’re excited about it, excited about the leads. I think every time you win it helps.
Deciphering Busch’s brief remarks on Saturday was sometimes a slippery slope. When Busch was asked if JGR couldn’t find funding for him if there would be another cup seat open for Busch, he said “probably not”. But when pressed to clarify whether that meant he would retire, Busch became visibly frustrated.
“Really? I mean, what do we do? he said.
Busch has been with JGR for 14 years; the team signed him with M&M’s after his dismissal from Hendrick Motorsports. He had been with Hendrick since he was 18, but the team found him indomitable and released him when Dale Earnhardt Jr. became available.
Gibbs picked up Busch and was rewarded with two Cup championships with the driver. Busch leads all active drivers with 60 Cup wins, and he has 223 wins in NASCAR’s three national series.
He is part of a four-rider team at JGR alongside veterans Denny Hamlin, three-time Daytona 500 winner, former champion Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell, who is in his second full season with the team. .
But Busch is spending a lot of time working on his son’s budding racing career, and he and his wife, Samantha, are expecting a girl via surrogate next month.
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