The 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion has just answered one of the biggest questions of Silly Season. Kurt Busch will officially join 23XI Racing and work alongside Bubba Wallace for the 2022 Cup Series season while embracing the Next Gen race car.
23XI Racing dropped the news on Friday, Aug. 27, releasing a special video on Twitter. The clip showed off the new No. 45 Toyota Camry, which will feature Monster Energy as the primary sponsor once again. The number will be 45, which co-owner Michael Jordan used during his baseball career. He also donned a No. 45 Bulls jersey after returning from retirement in 1995.
“And you thought I was leaving,” Busch said in the announcement video as he walked off of his private jet. “Racing for 23XI? Are you kidding me? It’s Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, Toyota. There’s more winning to be done.”
The move to 23XI marks the first time in Busch’s career that he will drive a Toyota during his Cup Series career. Though he has driven a Toyota in the Xfinity (Nationwide) series. He has previously locked up wins in Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge at the top level and will strive to continue the trend in a Toyota.
Busch Will Bring Extensive Experience to the Team
A 22-year veteran with 745 starts to his name, Busch has raced for the biggest teams and has reached Victory Lane numerous times. He has 33 wins on his career resume, as well as the 2004 Cup Series championship.
The veteran will now use this knowledge and experience on the track to help improve 23XI Racing as the team enters its second season. He can share little tips and tricks with Wallace, as well as the entire organization while helping fight for spots in the playoffs.
“When we started this team, our vision was to grow to a multi-car organization. To be able to expand in just our second year is a huge step for us,” Hamlin said in a press release. “Kurt brings a wealth of knowledge and a championship mindset to our team, and will be able to help us grow stronger and more competitive each and every week.”
Questions Remain About the New Deal
While 23XI Racing brought an end to the numerous questions about Busch’s future, the race organization did not provide all of the important details. The team only confirmed that Busch will drive the No. 45 Toyota and will work with Monster Energy as his primary sponsor.
The press release from the team did not provide any other information about Busch’s other partners. There are no details currently available regarding whether GearWrench also makes the move to 23XI Racing. Similarly, the press release did not reveal the identity of Busch’s next crew chief.
One other big question revolves around how Hamlin and Jordan made this addition possible. The team had the goal of acquiring a charter to guarantee entrance into every race in the Cup Series season, as well as a bigger portion of the purse. However, 23XI Racing did not reveal whether the team acquired a charter.
What the announcement did reveal, however, was the location of the door numbers for the 2022 season. Discussions have taken place throughout 2021 regarding NASCAR potentially pushing the door number forward to provide more room for sponsors. 23XI Racing provided confirmation by showing the No. 45 at the front of the door.