When 23XI Racing announced that Tyler Reddick would join the organization starting in 2024, there were immediate questions about the two current drivers. Denny Hamlin has now provided clarity about one of them by confirming that Kurt Busch has a job as long as he wants one.
Hamlin made the comment on July 12 during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Tradin’ Paint.” He explained that Busch has brought more to the table in his first season in terms of talent and leadership. Hamlin then explained that he wants to keep the 2004 Cup Series champion around well after his time in the No. 45 Toyota comes to an end.
“Our initial conversation with Kurt when we signed him is that ‘this is your long-term future, no matter what,'” Hamlin said during his appearance. “‘You can drive as long as you’d like, and then on top of that, we’d like to keep you on beyond that because we think you’re a very good leader that can help build this team.'”
ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!
Busch Is 19 Races Deep in His 23XI Racing Tenure
The Las Vegas native has extensive experience in NASCAR’s top series. He began his full-time career in 2001, and he has gone on to make 775 starts. 19 of these have been with 23XI Racing after he agreed to join the team on a multi-year deal.
Busch, much like Bubba Wallace, has dealt with struggles during his first season with the team. There have been failed inspections, mechanical issues, and crashes, but he has still turned in strong performances after switching to the Toyota Racing Development family.
Busch has seven top-10 finishes, five top-fives, and one win in the first 19 races of the 2022 season. His trip to Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway was his first at the track, and it kept his streak of nine consecutive seasons with a win alive. He is now only one win behind Brad Keselowski (35) on the all-time list, and he has at least one more season to achieve this goal.
Along with the wins, Busch also set a new record for 23XI Racing. He led 116 laps during his dominant run at Kansas Speedway, which shattered the previous mark for the organization (101 laps).
Busch Will Hit a New Milestone in 2023
Busch has accomplished a significant amount in his Cup Series career, and he will do so once again during the 2023 season. He will enter his second year with 23XI Racing just eight starts shy of 800.
If Busch starts all 36 races during the 2023 season, he will pass multiple Hall of Famers on the all-time starts list. He will leapfrog Jeff Gordon (805) and Darrell Waltrip (809) before ending the year in a tie with Bill Elliott (828) for seventh all-time. He will be one start shy of Kyle Petty (829).
Prior to hitting 800 starts, Busch will first have to finish out the remaining 17 races in 2022. He will use these starts to reach 792 in his career while passing Michael Waltrip (784) to enter the top 10. Though Busch will remain focused on pursuing his second championship instead of moving up the historic leaderboard.