NASCAR’s Kurt Busch Looks Back on ‘Full Circle’ Moment Between First-Ever Win and Now Driving for 23XI Racing

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Based on career stats, Kurt Busch currently holds the title of the longest-tenured active driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’s also one of the only drivers to win in all three top divisions of NASCAR: the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Truck Series.

With a two-decade career in NASCAR, the No. 45 driver has a long list of impactful moments under his belt. However, the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race of 2012 might be at the top of the list. After an all-out brawl with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch managed to hold Hamlin off, taking the checkered flag for himself.

This victory marked a long list of firsts for the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver. And because the Richmond Raceway is upon us once more, Kurt Busch took to Twitter to reminisce on that incredible day in Virginia.

“10 years ago,” Busch writes. “My 1st win for Monster Energy, my 1st win for Toyota Racing, & Kyle Busch Motorsports 1st [NASCAR Xfinity Series] win. Earned it in a last lap battle with Denny Hamlin. Little did I know 10 years later I’d be racing the 23XI Racing No. 45 with Monster, Toyota, & Denny. Life really comes full circle.”

NASCAR Driver Kurt Busch Prepares for Richmond Raceway

This weekend’s Toyota Owners 400 at the Richmond Raceway truly marks a full-circle moment for Kurt Busch. It’s April and he’s back at America’s Premier Short Track, preparing to battle Denny Hamlin and dozens of other drivers in his Toyota Camry under the Monster Energy banner.

The only difference is now, Denny Hamlin is both opponent and ally, as he owns 23XI Racing. Kurt Busch also now drives the No. 45 rather than No. 54 and, since that fateful day in 2012, has graduated to the Cup Series.

Kurt Busch hopes to recapture the magic of the 2012 race in Richmond, but the 2022 Cup Series season has a bit of a mixed bag for the 23XI driver. While he snagged a top 5 finish in both Phoenix and Atlanta, Kurt Busch also holds a 19 and 32 position finish.

That said, the Toyota Owners 400 marks only the 7th race in the Cup Series season. This Sunday’s race could provide Kurt Busch with just enough magic that he’s able to recreate his history-making performance of ten years ago.