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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Kyle Busch ‘not ready’ to discuss future with Joe Gibbs Racing after 2022

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As racers all across the country know only too well, the best-laid plans in auto racing are only as good as the amount of money that’s behind them. That’s true even for a driver of Kyle Busch’s stature, as he begins the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season with at least some reasonable doubt as to exactly what his future looks like.

For the first time since first joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, Busch is set to have a new primary sponsor come 2023, as M&M’s will leave the side of his No. 18 Toyota and NASCAR altogether at the end of the 2022 season. As noted by Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Busch’s contract with Gibbs — signed in 2019 and effective in 2020 — is believed to be a three-year deal with at least one option, but the two-time Cup champion’s continued relationship with the team could depend on the acquisition of a new primary sponsor.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Busch deferred to management when asked about the status of his contract for 2023. However, he made it known that he is happy at Gibbs and hopes to eventually have his future with the team solidified.

“It would be nice to just have all the discussions out the window and have us ready to have something to announce,” Busch said. “We’re very early in that game, so we’re not ready for that. Obviously, I’m good where I’m at, would love to stay, and hopefully all that works out.”

As one of NASCAR’s most prominent stars and the face of Toyota’s NASCAR program, Busch is more than a marketable figure to potential new partners and deeply ingrained with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. According to Pockrass, Gibbs officials have indicated they have no intention of seeing the two-time Cup champion leave the team.

While a departure by Busch seems unlikely, Joe Gibbs Racing will eventually have to reconcile the status of three of its veteran drivers — Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. — as Joe Gibbs’ grandson Ty makes an uncommonly quick ascent through the NASCAR ranks. At 18 years old last season, Ty Gibbs won his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course and scored three more wins, nine top 5s, and 10 top 10s in 18 starts on his way to Rookie of the Year honors.

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