Kurt Busch is among the few NASCAR drivers over 40 still on the track and producing wins. That’s why it came as a shock that, despite his success, they decided to sign Tyler Reddick earlier last week, although Reddick won’t be joining the team for two more years. However, when that happens, either he or Bubba Wallace will need to leave the team.
Rather than be upset, Busch seems unbothered by the changes, saying that whatever plans 23XI Racing might have in the future, it has no effect on his plans.
Kurt Busch says that 23XI Racing signing Tyler Reddick starting in 2024 doesn’t change his timeline on a decision whether to retire following the 2023 season. pic.twitter.com/YMHS2MwZVo
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 16, 2022
“It’s all on the same timeline,” Busch said Friday night before the race in New Hampshire. “For me, this is just now that it’s out in the open, things that we’ve been working on behind the scenes, part of the process of which drivers we were evaluating and communicating with Toyota and their development program as well. So it’s neat to have these options, that’s the key thing as well as the options part of this. It’s what it does with sponsorship, it’s what it does with Toyota’s involvement, and just the way that we’re developing some things and the infrastructure behind the scenes. This is a key movement. And that’s what we’re trying to do is do it as a team.”
Although there is speculation as to who might be out once Reddick comes in, Busch doesn’t seem to be worried about his place on the team.
“It’s still the same, it’s a matter of what is the right option. And when all signs point towards this or that, the great thing that I have right now is a lot of respect from the race team. Steve Lauletta, MJ (Michael Jordan), and Denny (Hamlin) said that I have a seat as long as I want it. That’s so valuable to me. Just…it makes me smile, want to race harder, and work harder. So there’s still plenty of options that we’re looking at.”
Even if he eventually decides to leave, Busch is not worried about the future.
“The key thing is if the phone keeps ringing, you keep racing.”