NASCAR: Kyle Busch leaving Toyota completely?

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

There was always going to be major obstacle making it tough for Kyle Busch to leave Joe Gibbs Racing and continue competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kyle Busch entered the year in a contract season with Joe Gibbs Racing, and compounding the matter was the fact that before the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season began, longtime sponsor M&M’s announced that this would be their final season on the #18 Toyota.

More than four months after he admitted that “goodbye” could be an option, there was still an abundance of uncertainty. Joe Gibbs Racing hadn’t been able to find a replacement sponsor, and what was once seen as a promising development recently fell through.

It has never been a secret that Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs is in position to be promoted to his grandfather’s Cup Series organization at some point, even though they would like him to spend two full seasons in the Xfinity Series first.

So if that scenario were indeed to unfold in 2023, it was always going to be more complicated for Busch to sign elsewhere than it would be for literally any other driver.

Yet here we are, and Busch is indeed set to compete for a new organization next year, with the official announcement that he is set to join Richard Childress Racing expected to come tomorrow morning.

Naturally, teams with open seats would be silly to pass on a 60-time race winner and a two-time champion, and we saw that throughout this entire process.

The idea of Busch joining Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford was mentioned as a potential option, though that sort of faded since Aric Almirola is no longer set to retire at the end of the year. Chevrolet emerged as a possibility a little bit later on, not just with Richard Childress Racing but with Kaulig Racing as well.

However, the major obstacle that was always going to come into play in either of these scenarios (manufacturer-wise) is the fact that Busch’s Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, is also a longtime Toyota-aligned organization.

So naturally, if Busch were to drive for a rival manufacturer, say “goodbye” to Toyota’s premier Truck Series feeder team.

Kyle Busch Motorsports have played a major role in developing young talent for Toyota over the years, and many of the organization’s drivers have gone on to enjoy success in the Xfinity Series as well as the Cup Series.

And one such example of “young talent” down the road could very well be Kyle’s own son, Brexton.

Let’s also not forget that, in addition to whatever salary Busch’s new non-Toyota team is set to pay to sign him, there is undoubtedly an additional massive fee for the new manufacturer to get him to switch over all of his Toyota Tundras.

He recently admitted that this situation is the reason why it has taken him so long to make an announcement for next year. Here’s what he had to say, according to NBC Sports.

"“I would say that the Truck Series option with Kyle Busch Motorsports has probably made this situation, 80-85% harder than just me. I would have been done by now if it was just me.”"

And which Cup Series team would be damaged most by Toyota losing a feeder team such as Busch’s powerhouse? Joe Gibbs Racing.

There is, of course, one other Toyota Cup Series team in 23XI Racing, but there were no seats open there for 2023 throughout this process. Of course, there might end up being one, depending on the health of brother Kurt Busch, but as of now, Kurt is signed through next year.

But before it was reported that he would be joining Richard Childress Racing, Kyle admitted that he had been offered contracts by multiple teams already and he needed to make a decision soon, as he needed to be the first “domino” to fall. So was it even feasible that 23XI Racing was one of those teams if Kurt himself hasn’t made a decision yet?

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Kyle’s ownership of Kyle Busch Motorsports was always going to make things much more complicated for him to simply sign with a new team. But given how long it took to confirm his plans, it’s not at all surprising that the unexpected turned into a reality and this obstacle has been overcome.