If Kyle Busch does not return to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, there is no question who his replacement would be.
Kyle Busch made several interesting remarks over the weekend at Talladega Superspeedway regarding his contract status with Joe Gibbs Racing and when he would like to know his plans for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
All in all, the 36-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native, who is set to lose longtime primary sponsor M&M’s following the 2022 season, appeared very frustrated with his current situation, noting that he would have liked everything to have been sorted out “yesterday”.
He claimed he is “not getting antsy about it”, though some of his other responses, including those about lack of sponsorship, cast some serious doubt on that statement.
While team owner Joe Gibbs stated that he is “confident” that things will get done, and Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson even stated that he was a “little disappointed” in Busch’s comments, there is obviously no guarantee that Busch will be back in 2023.
And if not, there is one obvious choice to replace him.
Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Joe Gibbs, hit the ground running in the Xfinity Series last year, winning on debut at the Daytona International Speedway road course and going on to take three more checkered flags in an additional 17 starts. Had he been eligible to qualify for the playoffs, he would have been a clear-cut championship contender.
He did all of this while winning 10 of 20 races in the ARCA Menards Series, good enough to secure the title.
After being promoted to a full-time role for his grandfather’s Xfinity Series team in 2022, a move which pretty much everybody anticipated, he has continued that success, winning three of the season’s first nine races and establishing himself as a title contender and Championship 4 favorite.
There are certainly questions about whether Gibbs would be able to handle the Cup Series or not, but those questions have nothing to do with his talent and are more about his maturity — or, in some cases, lack thereof — given some of the things he has recently done and said in the Xfinity Series.
But fortunately for Busch haters, a Busch departure would almost be like Busch never left. Many have already dubbed Gibbs NASCAR’s “most hated driver”, an unofficial title which Busch has held for quite some time, for these very reasons, so from that perspective, moving him into the #18 Toyota would be the smoothest transition you could possibly imagine.
It also might be the most obvious transition you could possibly imagine if Busch does end up losing his ride for next year.