NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing Wants Kyle Busch Back in 2023, Still Needs a Sponsor

by Jonathan Howard

One of the biggest NASCAR stories of the 2022 season, is where will Kyle Busch be in the 2023 season? Joe Gibbs Racing wants him back in the No.18 – but there are more issues than that. Mars, Inc. has been the sponsor for Busch since he joined JGR back in 2008. Along the way, he’s become “The Candy Man” after so many wins and great races in the M&M’s Toyota as well as the other candy variations.

For Busch, one of the biggest names in motorsports for years, this is a big decision. NASCAR is in a new generation, a new era. Some of the drivers in the Cup Series are getting older, but still competing with those young drivers as well. Busch isn’t going to retire, so it seems, but he won’t have Mars as a sponsor in 2023 and beyond.

JGR knows they want Kyle Busch back. That’s the starting point.

“We’ve been pretty consistent since the end of last season, which is we want Kyle to be in the (No.) 18 car and that’s our plan,” President of JGR, Dave Alpern said.

But, there has to be a sponsor for the car. Where will the No. 18 be this time next season? And, most importantly, who will be on the side of the Toyota Carmy TRD?

“What we do is get sponsors,” Alpern continued later on. “I mean, we’ve been doing that for 30 years. We’re in the business. I think it’s not a matter of just slapping something on the car. It’s finding a partnership that makes sense. And so we’re just trying to find the right fit.”

Until they get ink on paper, Kyle Busch remains unsigned, though. Something that should get figured out – ideally – but you can’t help but get nervous as time goes on.

Is Ty Gibbs Putting Pressure on Kyle Busch?

One thing that NASCAR fans are going to start talking about as 2023 gets closer, and likely throughout 2023, is Ty Gibbs coming up behind Kyle Busch. As the grandson of Joe Gibbs as well as being a damn good driver, Ty is next up for the team. That’s undoubtedly what the future is. However, the team is in no rush to push things with the Xfinity Series driver. Besides, when you have a guy like Busch in the Cup Series, there’s no need to rush things.

“Obviously, Ty’s done really, really, really good,” Alpern explained. “He’s a great driver. He’s a great kid. It’s been fun. So I think the timetable for us is to continue [as we are].” He later said, “There are no specific plans beyond this year in reference to a Cup race or whatever. We’re just kind of trying to play out the year and see if he can go win or can compete for an Xfinity championship this year”

So, the plan, at least for the next two years or so, is simple. Joe Gibbs Racing is sticking by their current driver setup. Kyle Busch in the Cup Series and Gibbs in the Xfinity Series. They can both compete for wins, and in the postseason, in their respective series. So, why change something that isn’t broke?

Busch finds himself in sixth in the Cup Series standings. He has one win and six top-5 finishes on the season. He definitely sees himself as someone that can get to the playoffs and make some noise.