The idea that Kyle Busch was “hiding something” regarding his contract status with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has been shot down — multiple times.
The two-time series champion, who is in a contract year, stated that he would have liked to have things done “yesterday” in terms of a new deal for 2023.
He added that it could very well be “goodbye” from the team without a new primary sponsor for next year, with M&M’s set to leave the #18 Toyota following the 2022 season.
Team owner Joe Gibbs later stated that he was optimistic about getting a deal done with Busch for 2023, with Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson even adding that he was a “little disappointed” in Busch’s remarks.
However, given some of Busch’s past comments about other issues and his ability to get people talking, some believed that his “candidness” was actually just the opposite.
Some believed that a deal was actually already done but couldn’t be announced, especially after Busch showed up to a media session with his “clickbait” t-shirt the following race weekend at Dover Motor Speedway and admitted that he didn’t elaborate as much as he could have. So a common belief was that he knew more than he was letting on.
However, further comments from Wilson earlier this week indicate that Busch really was telling the truth, and there hasn’t been any sort of agreement that has gotten done behind the scenes.
Here is what Wilson had to say, according to Autoweek.
“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.”
A further development involving Joe Gibbs Racing’s “unprecedented” deal with Brand Activation Maximizer, the marketing agency owned by JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter, to help sell sponsorship for the #18 Toyota backs that up in a significant way.
Will Busch be back for what would be a 16th season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023? Will he have to take a pay cut if he is to return? If he doesn’t come back, would that indeed mean “goodbye” from the Cup Series, or will he land elsewhere? What other options might he have, and would it be Ty Gibbs who is called upon to replace him?