As each day passes it looks less likely that Kyle Busch will be returning for Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs admitted last Sunday that it has been difficult to find a new sponsor for Busch. Now, a Toyota executive also says that JGR re-signing Busch seems unlikely.
Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson said in an interview with NBC Sports that his company is already making contingency plans in case Busch does not re-sign with JGR.
“I wish I could handicap it for you … but I just can’t. We’re in a bad place right now,” Wilson said. “… We’ve got some tremendously heavy lifting in front of us.”
Although Toyota is still willing to work with JGR until Busch gets a sponsor, it sounds like that window of good faith is closing fast. Busch has been the face of Toyota since 2008.
“So, my counsel to him (this past weekend) was around the partnership and how important this remains for Toyota and for Coach Gibbs,” said Wilson. “Made sure he knew we hadn’t given up. Just urged him to keep his head in the game and maintain a collaborative perspective because we’re going to need him to get this done as well. … It’s a different marketplace and we’re facing some headwinds with the economy that everybody is facing.”
Busch has been JGR’s most successful driver of Toyota’s No. 18 car and, while he wants a deal to get done, it sounds as if he plans to stay.
“It would be nice sooner (rather) than later, but honestly it doesn’t matter how soon or how late it gets done,” Busch said. “Until there’s an announcement that somebody else is driving the No. 18 car, then I feel like I still have a seat.”
Kyle Busch says until someone else is announced to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 car, he feels he has a seat there.
He also says there have been talks with other teams about 2023 and anything is possible. pic.twitter.com/MV9MghaCNn
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 16, 2022