Kyle Busch Leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to Hook Up With Richard Childress Racing
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch will move to Richard Childress Racing next season, ending a 15-year career with Joe Gibbs Racing because the team could not come to terms with NASCAR’s only active multiple Cup champion.
Busch will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for Childress in an announcement made Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He wore the two Cup championship rings he won driving for Gibbs on his middle fingers.
“I’ll be taking my talents to Welcome, North Carolina to drive the No. 8 car starting in 2023,” Busch said of moving to the team based about an hour north of Charlotte.
Tyler Reddick, who is currently competing for the Cup championship in the No. 8 Chevrolet, will remain under contract at RCR and drive for the team next season. Reddick in July told Childress he was moving to 23XI Racing in 2024.
Richard Childress said he informed Reddick he’d be out of the No. 8 next season one hour before Busch’s announcement. Childress said he’d obtain a third charter for Reddick’s car, but gave no other details except that Reddick’s current crew chief will be paired with Busch next season.
When Childress joined Busch at the announcement, the Hall of Fame team owner presented Busch’s 7-year-old son, Brexton, with a contract option to someday drive for RCR. But before that, Childress handed Busch his “signing bonus,” which was a boxed watch.
Childress in 2011 tussled with Busch after a Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. The car owner removed his watch and handed it to someone, saying ‘Hold my watch’ before the altercation. Childress was fined $150,000 by NASCAR afterward.
Childress and Busch, now 37 years old, long ago made amends, which helped make RCR a landing spot for Busch during his excruciatingly long free agency period. JGR learned longtime partner Mars Wrigley was leaving the sport at the end of 2022, and Gibbs had been searching for a deep-pocketed sponsor to keep Busch in the No. 18 Toyota.
Busch even said he’d drive for below his market value to get a deal done.
But as the year went on and no progress was made on Busch’s 2023 plans, he was forced to look elsewhere for both his own Cup seat and a landing spot for Kyle Busch Motorsports, his Truck Series team. KBM will now be a Chevrolet organization, but Busch said all details on KBM and how many trucks it fields next year is still being decided.