On @ForbesSports: 42-year-old @KurtBusch has drawn interest from a pair of first-year Cup Series programs, including @23XIRacing.— David Smith (@DavidSmithMA) July 26, 2021
My first in a series of profiles, analyzing what likely suitors can expect from top #NASCAR free agents. https://t.co/emCCPMAlpu
Where will Las Vegas native Kurt Busch go in 2022?
That continues to be the question on everyone's mind as he competes in his final races for Chip Ganassi Racing, and there have been a plethora of different answers. Initially, fans thought he would be a shoo-in at Trackhouse Racing, which announced that they would be fielding a second team for the 2022 season, but that fell apart when Ross Chastain was announced as the second driver. However, Busch didn't seem too worried about it in an interview with Racer.com and said he's got something in the works.
"Oh, things look very promising. I know where things sit. It’s just so close to being done and getting that announcement out there," Busch stated confidently. "We still have to wait just a little bit. There are a few puzzle pieces that will have to click in the right way, but I’m smiling about it and so is everybody else around me. Can’t say anything yet. Not just yet."
A lot of people believe the older Busch brother will go to 23XI Racing as the team's second driver alongside Bubba Wallace. In fact, there is also speculation that 23XI co-owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan are looking to purchase a charter from Front Row Motorsports at the end of the season. The belief is that Front Row Racing will sell their second car charter to cut down on costs with the incoming next-gen car, which would then give 23XI Racing a chance to field a second team.
Not only would this move bring a veteran mind onboard an inexperienced team, it also allows them to take whatever they learn from Busch and use it to make Bubba Wallace's car better. Beyond that, Busch is known for bringing big-time money sponsors on board in deals, giving 23XI Racing a chance to really start to develop their team. Would there probably be some growing pains? Of course, there would, but, arguably, the experience Busch offers is so great that it outweighs any doubt 23XI Racing may have.
Keep in mind that Busch is a former Cup Series champion, has 33 Cup Series wins, 153 top-fives, 325 top-tens, and 28 poles, making him the biggest fish in this year's free-agent pond. He has also worked with various manufacturers throughout his career, making a switch to Toyota not that crazy of an idea. His brother Kyle Busch even switched to Toyota after a few seasons with Chevrolet, allowing him to go on to great success. There is also the matter of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch being teammates, leading to the idea that Kyle might have recommended his brother.
It also seemed like Kurt Busch was talking about 23XI Racing when asked about what his plans were for the future. Now he didn't name the team or reveal what teams he had been talking to, but everything he said in one statement aligned with what 23XI Racing needs. It's almost like he tipped his hand about where he would be going, and no one picked up on it. Or at least, no one considered that there weren't too many other options out there.
"Yeah, I mean for me, I’m a racer. That’s what I’ve done my whole life, and when there’s a new car out on the horizon, I want to try and drive it. Busch said during his interview with Racer.com when asked about his future plans. Whether it was the current team, or a new team, I’m also still trying to find a role where I’m more of a mentor and a coach within a system that will be part of the long-term future of NASCAR."