“Time is a-ticking,” on Kyle Busch and the decision that’s hanging over him with every passing day.
And that is simply which team the 2015 and 2019 NASCAR Cup Series champion will call home in 2023 and beyond. As has been the case during every media session this season, Kyle Busch was asked Thursday at Darlington Raceway if he had an update on his ongoing contract negotiations with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). He revealed he was hoping to have a resolution on it the day prior, which did not happen.
“I was hoping yesterday,” Busch said, via NASCAR.com. “I’m not going to put a timeline on it, but time is a-ticking, and there are a lot of other options and a lot of other dominoes that need to fall.”
Busch’s deal with JGR expires at the end of the season. He’s also on the lookout for a new sponsor, as Mars Inc., his longtime sponsor, is pulling out of NASCAR after this season. Several brands under the Mars Inc. umbrella include M&M’s, Skittles, Snickers and Pedigree, all staples of Busch’s paint schemes over the years.
Kyle Busch said he is currently weighing his options — of which the 60-time race winer has many.
“More than one that has paper in front of me,” Busch said.
Kyle Busch Weighing Options in Middle of NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs
Kyle Busch, who has described the contract saga as tough, doubled-down on that Thursday. Having options doesn’t make the situation any less difficult — in fact it creates an even more so tricky situation for Busch.
“Trust me, my gut doesn’t feel good, and that’s not just for decisions being made, but more so of decisions being weighed and the perception in how you come across to all of those that you’re going to disappoint,” Busch said. “Right? There’s going to be one winner, and the rest are not winners, if you look at it in that regard.
“Good for me, but I definitely don’t want to come across as a lead-on or a liar or anything like that, so that’s why it’s been touch and go, and tread lightly.”
Lost in the equation is there’s still a season going on. And Busch, once again, is right in the thick of things. Busch was one of 16 drivers to qualify for the playoffs and will start 11th in the playoff standings, 30 points behind the No. 1 ranked Chase Elliott. Kyle Busch is confident that once it’s race time, his focus will 100% be on his No. 18 car amid the contract saga.
“It weighs on you every day of the week,” Busch said. “I think the best thing that I have for me is experience in being able to go race on Sunday. I’m a racer. That’s all I know. So, when I get to the race track every weekend, I put my helmet on, and that’s what I focus on.
“Being by myself, I do my best work inside that car, so I don’t have to think about anything besides making that car go fast.”