Kyle Busch is currently finishing out the final year of his current deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. No one knows if he will return to the No. 18 in 2023, but Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson called a potential departure a “monstrous disappointment.”
The Toyota executive spoke to reporters on May 17 during a roundtable conference. He addressed several topics, but the most prominent was Busch’s future. Wilson explained that there have been some tough times, but he clarified that he does not want this relationship to come to an end after the 2022 Cup Series season.
“We’ve been very close to Kyle for years and years and years, and some of that relationship, to be candid, has been born through trials that we’ve gone through together and through controversy that we’ve gone through together,” Wilson explained, transcript courtesy of NASCAR Media. “We’ve had some really tough times with Kyle Busch but we also are sitting on two championships and in celebrating recently our 1,500 starts across the three national series.
“I’ll pull this up because I keep the stat handy all the time — One driver has accounted for 36% of our total wins across all three series, and you know who that driver is. It’s just amazing. So any scenario that doesn’t have Kyle Busch retiring from Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota would be a monstrous disappointment — for us and for Coach Gibbs and the family.”
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Busch Previously Addressed His Uncertain Future
Busch’s future has been a hot topic since the trip to Talladega Superspeedway. He turned heads by addressing his uncertain future and making very blunt comments about potentially returning to Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I’m not getting antsy about it,” Busch said on April 23. “If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. Goodbye.” The driver of the No. 18 continued and explained that he hasn’t been knocking on Gibbs’ door about his contract status due to it hinging on sponsorship for the 2023 season.
“You’ve gotta sell it,” Busch added. “If you don’t sell it, then there’s nothing to sell. Nothing to have.” He continued and said that the Camping World Truck Series lineup is “probably 90% kids with money.”
Wilson acknowledged that the lack of a guaranteed sponsor for 2023 had added a “wrinkle” to the ongoing negotiations. Replacing Mars Inc. and M&M’s will not be a simple task. Wilson also explained that he understands Busch’s stance on his negotiations and the extended amount of time involved.
2008 Was a Big Season for JGR & Busch
Busch started his Cup Series career with Hendrick Motorsport and Chevrolet, but he moved to JGR in 2008 after losing his seat in the No. 5. This year kicked off a long run of success, and it also marked a major change for the organization.
JGR was a Chevrolet team during the 2007 season. The organization changed allegiances in 2008 by working with Toyota Racing Development, and Busch followed suit by switching to TRD across all three national series. The two companies have been attached ever since and have enjoyed a massive amount of success.
Busch has accounted for 56 of JGR’s Cup Series wins, and he has locked them all up in a Toyota. He has also secured two Cup Series championships and an All-Star Race win. Additionally, 91 of Busch’s 102 career Xfinity Series wins and 56 of his 61 Truck Series wins have been in a Toyota.