Kyle Busch officially announced on September 13 that he will move to Richard Childress Racing for the 2023 Cup Series season. As it turns out, this was a move made possible by Austin Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress.
Childress revealed this piece of information during the press conference. He told media members that Dillon was the one who approached him about trying to sign Busch. The driver of the No. 3 then met with media members and provided his side of the story.
“Made a phone call, said, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ We just started BS’ing a little bit about his options and stuff,” Dillon explained in a video filmed by FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “I said, ‘What about coming to drive at RCR?’ He goes, ‘Heh, do you think your grandfather would want me?’
“And I’m like, ‘He just wants to win, man,” Dillon continued. “He just wants to run good, and all that stuff in the past is history. It doesn’t matter anymore.'”
The history that Dillon referenced was an incident at Kansas Speedway in 2011. Following an on-track incident between Busch and RCR’s Joey Coulter, Childress handed his watch to Dillon before going to the garage and taking part in a physical altercation with Busch. NASCAR responded by handing down a $150,000 fine and placing Childress on probation.
Fast-forward to 2022, and Childress joked about that infamous moment. He presented Busch with a Rolex as a signing bonus and asked, “Will you hold my watch?” It was a fascinating start to an unexpected partnership.
Dillon Explained Why He Went To Bat for Busch
On the surface, the decision to bring Busch to RCR makes sense. He is a two-time Cup Series champion with 60 career wins, and he has the ability to make any car competitive.
There is also another reason why Dillon went to bat for his new teammate, one that was new information to many NASCAR fans. He and Busch raced against each other in the Xfinity Series during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, which led to a surprising offer.
“He pulled me aside in Nashville one time when he was starting his Xfinity team, and he offered me a job to come and drive for him,” Dillon explained. “He said, would you be interested in driving an Xfinity car — or Nationwide then — for me?
“And it kind of blew me away because I’ve always been known as the only reason I’ve got a ride is because of my grandfather. So he was one of the only guys to offer me a ride other than my grandfather, and I’ve always remembered that about Kyle. Even with the family stuff, the fight, and all that.”
There Was a Lot of Work Remaining
The call from Dillon was only one step in the process. There were many others that needed to be completed before Busch put pen to paper and agreed to take over the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro.
For example, Busch and Childress had to meet at Childress Vineyards and discuss both their history and their future. Dillon also had to discuss the matter with Torrey Galida, RCR president, and Mike Dillon, RCR general manager.
All of these pieces fell into place, which led to the big announcement. Now RCR and Busch will prepare for the 2023 season that will inevitably be very surreal for hundreds — if not thousands — of NASCAR fans.
“I was kind of surprised, honestly,” Busch said about the call. “Richard and I, we had spoken in years past just in passing, but when Austin reached out, I was like, OK, we probably need to sit down and discuss something first. It was fine. It was easy. It wasn’t that big of a deal when we did.”