McLaren IndyCar management changes ongoing as team targets Kyle Busch for Indy 500

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Former team president Taylor Kiel resigned this week and is expected to take up a similar role at Chip Ganassi Racing once his non-compete clause has expired. However, it’s understood that he will not be directly replaced within the team, which next year expands to three cars, as Alexander Rossi joins incumbents Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

Autosport has learned McLaren CEO Zak Brown is weighing up his options from various senior personnel within the organisation and has hired the former president of race operations and race director of IndyCar Brian Barnhart.

This season Barnhart served as Rossi’s strategist at Andretti Autosport, and it’s understood that he will reprise his role with Rossi in 2023 but combined with a managerial duty within Arrow McLaren SP.

The rest of team’s managers at this level will come from within. Billy Vincent, the team’s current competitions director as well as Rosenqvist’s strategy-caller, is part of that mix, while it’s understood that Gavin Ward (technical director who joined from Team Penske last off-season), long-time performance director Nick Snyder, and Max Neyron are also in line for altered job descriptions.

Several if not all the aforementioned will be part of a delegation flying to McLaren’s base in Woking next week.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, M&M’s Toyota Camry

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

While priority is being given to this re-formatted management structure and arranging three full-time crews for 2023, the team is known to be interested in running NASCAR ace Kyle Busch in next year’s Indianapolis 500.

The 37-year-old two-time Cup champion will depart Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs Toyotas, for Richard Childress Racing, which runs Chevrolets, in 2023, which means he will not need to overcome the manufacturer hurdle that his then-Chevy-backed brother Kurt Busch faced when racing for Andretti Autosport in the 2014 Indy 500 when he finished in sixth.

Busch who has amassed 224 wins in NASCAR – 60 Cup, 102 Xfinity, 62 Truck – was not permitted under his JGR contract to pursue an IndyCar ride, but Childress has put no such barriers in place.

Questioned about the matter Busch said: “That’s in the deal. I made sure it was in the deal. I can go run [Indy] if I want to run it. So, by all means, any IndyCar teams that are Chevrolet, call me up.”

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Asked if his wife Samantha was OK with such a plan, Busch responded: “She hasn’t said no. The last person who said no was my former boss [Gibbs].”

As well as ensuring its own infrastructure is sufficient to take on a fourth strong entry for the 500, Arrow McLaren SP will also be expecting Busch and his backers to make the campaign financially viable, rather than depending on the team to piece together sponsorship for his car.

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