Make room, Bubba Wallace. 23XI Racing announced Friday that Kurt Busch will return to NASCAR next season in their Monster Energy No. 45 Toyota. His addition to the Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin-owned organization makes 23XI a two-car team for the first time in its young history.
Fittingly, the addition of Busch’s No. 45 car means his and Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota represent both of the jersey numbers Michael Jordan wore throughout his storied NBA career.
The NASCAR team released a sleek promo video on Twitter announcing the news.
“And you thought I was leaving,” Busch says in the video as the door to a team jet opens. “Racing for 23XI? Are you kidding me? That’s Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, Toyota. There’s more winning to be done.”
For the past three seasons, Kurt Busch has been driving with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team is undergoing some major changes this offseason after being acquired by Trackhouse Racing. Now, he seems excited to take the next step in his career.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity. Racing to win is what I live for. Helping to continue developing a new team, alongside Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Toyota is exactly what I want to be part of,” Busch said in a statement. “Winning is important to 23XI, it’s important to Monster Energy, and it’s important to me. That is our goal.”
Kurt Busch is going on 22 seasons of NASCAR Cup Series competition. His career includes 33 race wins, a championship, and he has won at least one race in each of his last eight seasons.
Denny Hamlin Has High Hopes for the Kurt Busch Addition to His NASCAR Team
According to NASCAR.com, 23XI co-owner and fellow driver Denny Hamlin has wanted to grow the team for some time now. The team has been on the hunt for a solid driver to take the wheel of their second car. And who better than Kurt Busch? At least, that’s how Denny Hamlin sees it.
“When we started this team, our vision was to grow to a multi-car organization,” Hamlin said in a statement. “To be able to expand in just our second year is a huge step for us. Kurt brings a wealth of knowledge and a championship mindset to our team, and will be able to help us grow stronger and more competitive each and every week.”
NASCAR fans need no reminder of Bubba Wallace’s presence on the 23XI Racing team. Still towards the beginning of his career, Wallace left Richard Petty Motorsports behind for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s team in 2020.
Now, Wallace finally has a teammate in Kurt Busch. It will be exciting to see what the pair do with their 2022 NASCAR opportunities.