Breaking down Kyle Busch’s move to Richard Childress Racing

Kyle Busch and Richard Childress speak at a press conference
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In a season with new cars, 19 different winners, and loads of on-track action, the biggest story may be what’s happened off the track.

Kyle Busch‘s contract situation has been closely followed all year, and it has now come to a resolution. Kyle Busch will leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2022 to join Richard Childress Racing and drive the No. 8 Chevrolet.

Busch’s contract ordeal with JGR became tenser as time passed. It was a constant cycle of things seeming close, then falling apart again. After all the suspense, Busch is leaving the comfort of both JGR and Toyota after 15 years for a new challenge, and to bring a former powerhouse back to the top.

Busch leaving JGR is a massive deal. He is the winningest Toyota driver in all three series, including 56 Cup Series wins and two championships since he joined the team in 2008. He will also transition his Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, from Toyota to Chevrolet. KBM has seen great success in the 13 years since its conception. The team has won four overall championships and produced several eventual Cup Series drivers who have been behind the wheel.

This move also came with a precursor, and there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s break this all down.

The Awkward Situation at RCR

Currently, Tyler Reddick drives the No. 8 Chevy. However, he informed RCR in July that he would leave the team for 23XI Racing in 2024. This was a big get for 23XI, which is a Toyota team. They get a good, young driver in Reddick and pry him away from Chevrolet. Richard Childress was caught off guard and knew he had to sign a big name to make up for Reddick’s departure. Childress did the unthinkable and responded by signing Busch, stripping Toyota of their best asset.

Here’s where things get a bit awkward. Reddick will still race for RCR for 2023. The team will take him out of the No. 8 and give it to Busch, along with Reddick’s crew chief. Reddick will now drive a new, third car for RCR next year, but there’s no telling how much support he’ll have with one foot out the door.

Reddick was professional about the situation. He realized the business aspect takes precedence over his personal desires for next season.

“I looked at it from the business point of view, and I feel like how they’re approaching it with Kyle coming in and being with the 8 team. They’re looking ahead to the future and what’s going to be best for them in the long term…”

While both sides may feel that they can coexist next year, things are certainly going to feel a bit awkward with Busch becoming the focal point of the team.

 

Is Kyle Busch to RCR the Right Move?

At 37 years old, Kyle Busch has nothing left to prove. He is a future hall of fame and one of the winningest drivers in NASCAR history at all three levels. Sticking with JGR would’ve certainly been just fine. He would be in contention with a good car for the foreseeable future and maintain his longstanding relationship with Toyota. But with nothing left to prove, why not take a risk?

Busch now gets to race for another racing legend in Childress and try his hand in a Chevy for the first time since he was at Hendrick Motorsports in 2007. He can race for a team that he knows he’s wanted at and valued, and Childress even threw in a clause for Busch to be able to race in the Indy 500 in a Chevrolet.

This is a great opportunity for Busch to switch things up and try something new as he enters the latter part of his career. Not to mention, he’s going to be on quite the revenge tour next season as he looks to dominate on yet another team. Kyle Busch at RCR might be the best version of Busch we’ve seen in years. Though the short term might be messy, the long term should work out for all sides, especially Busch. He’ll have freedom, a solid car, and a fresh start to chase his third championship and further cement his legacy.

Featured Image Credit: Alejandro Alvarez/NASCAR Studios

 

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