NASCAR: New Kyle Busch development emerges

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Joe Gibbs Racing can’t afford to pay Kyle Busch to keep him with the team for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, according to David Wilson.

One of the biggest talking points surrounding the NASCAR Cup Series over the last month or so has been the contract status of Kyle Busch, who is in his 15th season with Joe Gibbs Racing as the driver of the #18 Toyota.

Busch is in a contract year with the team, and with longtime sponsor M&M’s not returning for the 2023 season, there is a significant element of uncertainty surrounding the two-time champion’s future in the series.

Busch indicated a few weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway that he would have liked to have a deal done “yesterday” and that without additional sponsorship, it could very well mean “goodbye”.

Afterward, team owner Joe Gibbs stated that he was optimistic that the team would find a way to bring back the 37-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native for a 16th season next year, and Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson even stated that he was a “little disappointed” in Busch’s remarks.

While some began to speculate that Busch could be headed elsewhere, or perhaps even nowhere, for the 2023 season, others believed that he was simply trying to stir things up, especially when he showed up to a media session at Dover Motor Speedway the following weekend with a t-shirt that read “clickbait”.

But earlier this week, Wilson made it clear that Busch returning for another year behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota really isn’t a sure thing.

Here is what Wilson had to say about the matter earlier this week, according to Autoweek.

"“One driver has accounted for 36% of our total wins across all three series, and you know who that driver is. Any scenario that doesn’t have Kyle Busch retiring from Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota would be a monstrous disappointment for us and Coach Gibbs and the family.”"

He added that the departure of M&M’s caught everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota by surprise, and the money currently isn’t there for the former to pay Busch unless a replacement sponsor which brings a significant amount of funding is found.

"“[M&M’s leaving] caught us all by surprise. The reality is Joe Gibbs can’t afford to pay Kyle Busch. That comes from corporate sponsorship. Every driver’s salary comes from whatever is on that race car on Sunday. We remain optimistic. We’re working on a number of different solutions harder than we ever have before.”"

Next. 3 possible landing spots for Kyle Busch in 2023. dark

Even if additional sponsorship is found, there is a chance that Busch would still need to accept a pay cut in order to continue his career with Joe Gibbs Racing beyond the 2022 season. But if not, what might his future hold? It seems fairly obvious that Ty Gibbs would be promoted from the organization’s Xfinity Series team, but where, if anywhere, would Busch end up?