AUSTIN, Texas – Following a season with an onslaught of questions about the 2023 season, Kyle Busch can focus on his new situation with clarity and confidence.
At last, Busch does not have to respond to the press about where he will race ahead of this upcoming NASCAR Cup Series season.
Although Busch’s move to Richard Childress Racing was announced on Sept. 13, 2022, the two-time Cup champion focused on pursuing his third title while closing out his 14-year tenure with the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team.
Certainly, Busch endured through a tough, maddening 2022 campaign highlighted with a win in the Bristol Dirt Race. The racer known as “Rowdy,” who placed 13th place in the driver’s standings, snapped a streak of nine consecutive years finishing 10th or better.
Now, Busch prepares for his 21st Cup season with the enthusiasm and drive reminiscent of his early years in NASCAR.
Sure, the preseason can bring a smile to even the most intense competitors in any sport. Still, Busch, a 60-time Cup race winner and 224-time NASCAR national race winner, is eager to race for Childress’ storied organization.
“Yeah, I’m excited about that,” Busch said following a Goodyear tire test held on Monday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas. “You know, it’s a great thing for me (with) being the most winningest driver in NASCAR across all three series (with) 220 something wins.”
Driver and team combination changes are not new in the world of NASCAR. The oft-discussed silly season moves shake up any organization and athlete at any moment.
Whether it is Tom Brady, Ray Bourque or Kyle Busch, elite athletes can thrive in their new environment. There is something to be said about tapping into one’s experience while acclimating to a change of scenery.
“I look at it as an opportunity like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady who jumped teams and moved on to other teams and were able to be successful in one championships elsewhere,” he offered. “So I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to do that here with RCR.”
Busch made the most of Monday afternoon’s Goodyear tire test at the storied 3.41-mile road course. Beyond the valuable seattime and data from the test session, the charismatic racer showcased the fresh, distinct livery of the No. 8 Netspend Chevy.
Likewise, Netspend, an Austin, Texas based business, will be one of the new partners of the future NASCAR Hall of Fame racer.
To say the least, Busch recognized the importance of NASCAR’s engagement and presence in newer markets such as “The City of the Violet Crown.”
“It’s a big deal to have us venture out into new markets, and especially here in Austin. It’s a market where our new sponsor that we just announced today, NetSpend. It’s their home,” he shared. “That’s always a good thing when you’re able to venture out and kind of pick up some more partners from different areas of the country.”
Additionally, Busch will sport the colors of Alsco, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and Lenovo.
Regardless of whose logos adorn the refreshed No. 8 car, Busch looks forward to adding to Childress’ rich history ahead of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season with the Busch Light Clash exhibition race in Los Angeles, California (Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX).
If history has told critics anything about Busch and his dynamic personality and style, it would be foolish to dismiss his genuine enthusiasm and reinvigorated energy as one of racing’s exciting talents.
“I think that’s going to be really, really fun to go out with one of the more historic teams, the longest tenured team in NASCAR and go race with RCR,” Busch said. “Richard (Childress), Austin (Dillon) and Andy (Petree) and all the guys have just been really, really, really, really cool. A lot of fun.
“You know, I’m definitely excited about this year coming up and what we got in store.”
Sean Folsom contributed to this feature on-site directly from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.