With Kevin Harvick set to retire after the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, Busch Light needed to find a new driver. In doing so, they have moved to a new team.
Busch had been contemplating their NASCAR future for quite some time, given the fact that 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick, whom they have sponsored for several years, is set to retire at the end of the 2023 season, capping off an incredible 23-year career.
JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry is set to replace Harvick behind the wheel of the No. 4 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing.
By signing Ross Chastain, Busch have aligned themselves with a new NASCAR Cup Series team.
The 2023 season was set to be a contract season for Chastain at Trackhouse Racing Team, the team owned by former NASCAR driver Justin Marks and Grammy award-winning musical artist Pitbull.
He was even rumored as a potential replacement for Harvick behind the wheel of the No. 4 Ford. But he and Trackhouse Racing Team reached a contract agreement to keep him behind the wheel of the No. 1 Chevrolet for a “long time” before the season began.
“Trackhouse gave me my first multi-year deal when we first signed together for 2022 and 2023,” Chastain told Beyond the Flag. “I had never had it on paper to be locked in and secured for more than one year. A lot of times, I didn’t even have a contract. It was an email that said, let’s go race. It was just a physical handshake. Nothing down on text, email, nothing confirming that we were going to race all year.
“But we always figured it out. So when Justin came to me when he acquired CGR, it was for two years, and then they came back to me and said, ‘we like this, we like you, we want to do this with you for a long time,’ so I was all in.
“Now to have Busch Light to go along with it, it just solidifies everything we’re doing and the vision Justin had, and then for me to honestly buy in and believe with a new brand, a new race team, and a new car, it’s all worked out.”
Marks started Trackhouse Racing Team in late 2020 for the 2021 season and added Pitbull as a co-owner before the season began, when they were a one-car team fielding only the No. 99 Chevrolet for Daniel Suarez. Before the 2022 season, they acquired the entire Chip Ganassi Racing operation.
They signed then-Chip Ganassi Racing driver Chastain to drive the second car, and he went on to win two races and finish in second place in the championship standings in his first year with the new organization.
“Trackhouse came onto the scene – it’s new, it’s disruptive – and we are just finding our way quickly as we became competitive last year,” Chastain continued, “And then we started realizing – Justin, with his vision – this is all the fruits of his labor paying off, in the way he set the company up, the way he acquired CGR.
“The way I understand it, Busch Light wanted to be a part of that. They saw Trackhouse, they saw it, they knew, and they saw the competition going with it. We weren’t just online and then not much to speak of at the track, and we weren’t just a race team. We’re more than, I know it sounds crazy to say, but we’re more than just two Cup cars.
“What the Trackhouse brand is building to represent and what it means, and the place it holds in this world from now moving forward, whatever timetable you want to set, it will continue to grow. It’s bigger than just me, it’s bigger than just one car in the Cup Series. Busch Light saw that and they wanted to be a part of what we’re doing.”