NASCAR: Kyle Petty Issues Emotional Statement About Kurt Busch Taking No. 45 for 23XI Racing

by Thad Mitchell

Former NASCAR driver and current commentator Kyle Petty can’t help but get a little emotional when talking about the number 45.

The Petty family cherishes the number 45 and are happy they will see the special number racing around NASCAR tracks again. Current NASCAR racer Kurt Busch will drive the number 45 Toyota Camry beginning in the 2022 season. Busch is a driver for former NBA great Michael Jordan’s 23XI team and will take over the number 45. Kyle Petty has reportedly given the group his blessing to allow Busch to race a car bearing the number.

The number 45 has not been seen on a NASCAR Cup Series track since the end of the 2008 season, Kyle Petty’s last season. Petty donned the number 44 until the 2000 season when he switched to 45 to honor his late son, Adam Petty. Adam was tragically killed in a crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on May 12, 2000. It was Adam Petty who first drove the number 45 car until his death. That is when his father took on the number.

Shortly after the reveal of Busch’s intention to drive the number 45 car, the former NASCAR star Kyle Petty put out a statement.

“The number 45 is a special number to myself and the entire Petty family,” Kyle Petty says in the statement. “We look forward to seeing that number back on the NASCAR race track and contending for race wins and championships. Seeing the number compete again, under the 23XI Racing banner, with Kurt behind the wheel, is exciting for us.”

Kyle Petty and Family Proud to See 45 Return

Kyle Petty is racing royalty as his father. Richard Petty is one of the most well-known figures in NASCAR racing. Kyle says he knows that the 23XI racing team will honor his son’s memory with the number 45 car.

“While the number will always hold many memories of Adam, we know Kurt, Denny (Hamlin), and the entire organization will represent it well,” he continues in the statement. “Victory Junction — a place of empowerment and inclusion for kids with chronic and serious illnesses envisioned by Adam — are proud to see the number 45 car return and where this team will take it.”

NASCAR fans are also excited to see the number 45 out there racing around the track once more. Several racing watchers posted their thoughts on social media about the 45 comeback.

“So glad Kyle Petty is onboard with this,” a fan writes. “Such a class act. I know 23XI and Kurt Busch will make them proud.”

The Michael Jordan-owned rating group made their addition of Kurt Busch official just Friday. It is safe to say that NASCAR fans can’t wait to what Busch can cook up in 2022. They released an introduction video on social media on Friday, welcoming the star driver to the team.