Corey LaJoie may have provided some clues about what is happening to Kyle Busch and the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
On his podcast Stacking Pennies, LaJoie and his co-hosts were talking about Busch and how his unknown future may be affecting how he races. At this past Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway, Busch hit the wall early on in an apparent driving error. Even though Busch still finished in the top-10, the gaffe was rather uncharacteristic of him.
During the discussion, LaJoie said about Busch, “Well he’s not driving that car next year so I guess he can do whatever he wants to with it.”
That seemed like a bit of a bombshell and his co-host tried to provide an out to keep LaJoie from saying something he shouldn’t be saying, but LaJoie further explained what he thinks will happen.
“Kyle Busch isn’t driving the 18 car next year,” LaJoie said. “It’s not happening. I hate it for the Kyle Busch fans. He will find a job somewhere. Hearing some rumors there are certainly offers on the table. Two potential Chevy teams, a potential Ford team, and there’s also an option potentially with Toyota.”
“But I think we’re going to see our little buddy in the 18, guys. That’s just what it is.”
The “little buddy” that LaJoie was referring to is Ty Gibbs, the 19-year-old grandson of Joe Gibbs. Ty has been driving the #45 in place of Kyle’s older brother Kurt, who is recovering from a concussion he suffered at Pocono last month.
LaJoie did note that these are rumors but as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, it’s possible he would know a lot of insider stuff that’s being talked about in the garage. Not to mention, LaJoie’s comments make a lot of sense.
Even though Busch is willing to take a pay cut to stay with Gibbs, the best case scenario is that whatever sponsor they get won’t bring in the kind of money Mars is paying. So while a pay cut by the driver is a nice start, it may not be enough.
In Ty’s four starts, he’s done rather well for someone who’s still a teenager and is pretty much learning how to race the “Next Gen” car on the fly against the best of the sport. Gibbs’ finishes of 16th, 17th, 10th, and 36th (engine issues) are solid and if he’s going to be the future like many think he’ll be, and he’s not going to command multi-time Cup champion money, Joe may want to put his grandson in a Cup car sooner rather than later.