Kyle Busch doesn’t have to have many sleepless nights any longer. He knows his future destination. The only thing keeping him from some restless nights is figuring out the plans for the Truck Series team. We know they’ll have Chevrolet power but sponsorship deals and who drivers them are still up in the air.
For Toyota however, there’s no more questions than answers.
Who Replaces Kyle Busch?
The main one has to be Ty Gibbs, right? Who else is there? But maybe the still stick to their original plan of him racing in the Xfinity Series in 2023 too before moving him up. They needed sponsorship and as of now, they’re losing a two-time champion that is a 60-time winner in the sport. They don’t have a replacement yet…
What’s Kurt Busch’s Future?
This is still unclear. We know 23XI Racing has stated the 45 ride is Kurt’s as long as he wants it but what happens if he doesn’t want it anymore? What happens if he doesn’t come back?
Yes both 23XI Racing has said they’re not buying him out and RCR has said they’re bringing him back for 2023, but are both sides really telling the truth or postering? Is this just satire? Could both sides just be playing a $10+ million game of hardball?
If Kurt Busch doesn’t come back, then does the team elect to go for Tyler Reddick? I mean it makes things a little simpler in the sense that they know they don’t have to search for a 3rd charter but they also know that they’d have to buy him out now too.
RCR’s 3rd Charter?
Childress mentioned that he would get one for his 3rd car, but will he really? Where’s he going to get it from? That will cost him a chunk of change to not only secure a charter, but to put together an entire team of pit crews, engineers, car chief, crew chief, etc. That price tag is in the millions.
To do it right? You’re probably looking in the ballpark of $15-$20 million these days.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just let Reddick out of the contract a year early to save that cost? They could in theory work out a deal to let him walk to 23XI a year early. By not doing so, they allow themselves to get paid to do that. That’s smart business.
It’s really dependent on Kurt Busch I feel. If he comes back, then you may have to negotiate a buy out. The thing is, it may not be best for Reddick because if Busch is back, they’re not going to fork out the money for a charter and build a team themselves this late in the game. I’d he’s not back, it still may be cheaper to buyout Reddick.
Either way, remaining status quo costs RCR a lot of money for Busch. You give him a contract then would have to spend the $15-$20 investment on a charter and putting together a 3rd team.
If you lease one, it still costs millions to do so. Which is why both sides are playing hardball.
If they don’t let Reddick walk and do buy a charter, you’ve got to think this is a longer term investment, right? Why buy all of that for one year? Is Austin Hill or Ty Dillon in the cards for 2024 then?
I just go back to, where does this charter come from?
You know in terms of the Toyota camp, they’re set with their 6 charters. What about Ford?? SHR isn’t giving up a 4th charter. Penske is set with 3. Wood Brothers won’t give theirs up. RFK Racing will keep their two.
Live Fast has 1 or Rick Ware Racing has 2. Maybe these teams are options but RWR is affiliated with SHR. This is Year 1 of that. Do they change for the 2nd time in as many years?
The best case is a Chevy team. Will RCR lease one from Spire? Will they buy it? There’s a lot here to figure out.
What’s Toyota’s Future Outlook?
Toyota lost their development plan. KBM was always their feeder system to the Xfinity Series. They can groom drivers there. What happens now? You lost that flagship Truck Series team. You have the ARCA program and Xfinity, but what about Trucks?
You have now got all your pieces in the Christopher Bell camp. You have Ty Gibbs. But you also have the 18 seat open, Denny Hamlin who’s 41 years of age and Martin Truex Jr. who’s operating on a one year extension.
It’s not just the fact that Busch is gone, they may have another opening in the 19 car at this time next year too which the initial plan had to be Gibbs joining Hamlin, Busch and Bell. Now in a 2-4 year timeline, it could be Bell, Gibbs and who else?
That’s why Toyota has to figure out the longer term focus now too.
What Does This Mean For Nemechek, Smith and Heim?
They’re all deserving of a promotion but where do they go?