Busch made the announcement on October 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He met with media members and explained that he continues to focus on his recovery from a concussion and that this decision stems from “being unselfish.” He will continue to be involved with 23XI Racing, Toyota Racing, and NASCAR. He just will not be racing full-time and pursuing championships.
“I know that I’m not 100% in my ability to go out and race at the top level in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Busch said in a statement and in his press conference. “These are the best of the best drivers, and lately, I haven’t felt my best.
“The doctors have come to the conclusion that it is best for me to ‘shut it down’ for this season. Even though I have made solid gains since I have been working with top specialists, and the team at Toyota Performance Center, I’m still not 100% and I’m still not cleared to compete.”
Busch faced questions about his “legacy” and how he has a reputation for making every team better. He responded by saying that he had matured over the years while adopting different parts of the personalities of the respective team owners.
Busch Ends His Full-Time Career With a Hall of Fame Resume
The Las Vegas native did not end his full-time career how he wanted, but he made an impact when he was on the track. He piled up wins and celebrated the biggest moments while driving for a variety of teams.
Busch made his national series debut for Jack Roush in 2000 while driving in the Truck Series. He scored four wins in the No. 99 Ford, and he finished second overall in the championship standings behind teammate Greg Biffle.
Busch moved up to full-time Cup Series competition in 2005, and he has remained in this role ever since. He has secured 34 career wins at the top level, which is 25th on the all-time list. He also won the 2004 championship.
Along with the wins, Busch has made major strides both on and off the track. He grew into an ambassador for NASCAR and one of the most respected drivers in the garage after turning heads for some wrong reasons early in his career.
“For more than two decades, we have been privileged to watch Kurt Busch compete,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. “He has proven himself a champion on the racetrack, but perhaps just as importantly, he has grown to become a true ambassador for the sport. Kurt’s drive to improve the future of motorsports has set him apart. We are thrilled that he’ll remain in our sport as a leader and trusted resource. Kurt’s unparalleled passion for racing gives us hope that we will see him in a race car again.”
Busch Potentially Circled Some Events for When He is Ready
While Busch will step away from full-time competition, he will not leave racing entirely. He will obviously have a role at 23XI Racing. He also said that he could compete in select races in the future after getting back to 100%.
The former champion does not have a specific list of events just yet. His decision to walk away from full-time competition happened recently, so everything is a work in progress. Though he did specifically mention that he still wants to win at Watkins Glen International after finishing second behind Juan Pablo Montoya in 2010.
Busch also mentioned Michigan International Speedway as a possibility due to the potential of completing a unique list. He won at the two-mile track with Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet. The only team missing is Toyota.
Apart from NASCAR races, there are also some bucket list items that Busch wants to complete. There are some races in Australia and Asia, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Another option that Busch mentioned does not involve climbing into a race car. Instead, he explained that he would talk to FOX Sports about possibly doing some work in the booth after helping cover numerous Truck Series races in the past.