The entire NASCAR world is awaiting what will happen to Kyle Busch for the 2023 season, as the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is a free agent. Over the last month, or so, it has begun to sound more and more like he possibly won’t return to Joe Gibbs Racing, the team he has called home since the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series season.
While his plans are still up in the air, Busch fielded questions in a media availability on Saturday at Watkins Glen, which heavily revolved around his 2023 plans. When the topic of the Joe Gibbs Racing contract talks came up, Busch sounded quite peeved.
“No new update, is that fair? Sorry, but there isn’t,” Busch stated sharply.
Busch then opened up about the mental anguish he has been going through while attempting to line up his next contract.
“Let’s be frank about it, alright? I’m an athlete, I make a lot of money. People aren’t feeling, or shouldn’t feel sorry for me,” Busch explained. “I’ve made a good living. So, that’s not the premise of this answer, but it’s been hard as hell. It’s been a lot of sleepless nights figuring out what your future is and all of that sort of stuff.”
Busch says this foray into free agency has been total different for him. Not only is the industry in a different place, but personally, Busch’s family is in a different place as well.
“The first time — the last time I went through all of this was 15 years ago, and it was a learning experience,” Busch said. “It was hard then too, but it was nothing like now. Then, it was just me, myself and I. I didn’t have Samantha, I didn’t have a son, I didn’t have a daughter. All I had was an agent that was helping me.”
In addition to having his family depending on whatever step is next, Busch has an entire race team — Kyle Busch Motorsports — depending on him as well.
“Now, you have Kyle Busch Motorsports that you have to think about. You have a building that you have to pay on. You know, you have a building note and all of that sort of stuff. There’s a lot of, lot of pieces and that’s why it’s not so simple,” Busch stated.
As his media availability drew to a close, Busch began to throw hints that perhaps he is preparing for a future that does not include driving the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“There’s a big change coming,” Busch said when pressed on his plans for next year.
“Is it worth it to go run around and not have an opportunity to win right away versus building something versus jumping in something that can win. All of those questions are certainly being weighed out.”
Busch continued by saying, “Thankfully, there are opportunities out there. There [are] Cup jobs available. But it, again, it will not look the same as what it has for the last 15 years.”
The further into the season we get, and Busch says there are no new updates on the Joe Gibbs Racing front, it seemingly will become less and less likely that Busch returns to the No. 18 car. While there are NASCAR Cup Series jobs, outside of JGR, available right now, if Busch waits too long to make a decision in hopes of returning to the No. 18 ride, the musical chairs, that he may need, could all be full.