Kurt Busch has been the subject of retirement rumors for quite some time, but the Monster Energy driver isn’t done yet. For 2022, Busch will be joining 23XI during the team’s second year in competition.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity,” Busch said in a team release. “Racing to win is what I live for. Helping to continue developing a new team, alongside Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Toyota is exactly what I want to be part of. Winning is important to 23XI, it’s important to Monster Energy, and it’s important to me. That is our goal.”
23XI is, of course, the team founded by Denny Hamlin and legendary basketball player Michael Jordan. Right now, the team is fielding just one car, the No. 23, with Bubba Wallace behind the wheel. Busch will be the team’s second-ever driver, and he’ll be taking on the No. 45.
2022 will be, fittingly, Busch’s 22nd year of Cup Series competition, where he’s won at least one race in 18 of those seasons. He’s spent the last three years at Chip Ganassi Racing where his performance hasn’t exactly been stellar, but a win this year has put him in the playoffs. A change of scenery may be just what Busch needs to nab that more consistent performance.
It’ll also be a great thing for the new team. Current driver Bubba Wallace is only in his fourth full season in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he, too, was previously a member of Richard Petty Motorsports.
Taking on a driver with experience can only serve 23XI well, and having a second opinion will no doubt increase the learning curve of the Toyota-based team.
“When we started this team, our vision was to grow to a multi-car organization. To be able to expand in just our second year is a huge step for us,” Hamlin said in a team release. “Kurt brings a wealth of knowledge and a championship mindset to our team, and will be able to help us grow stronger and more competitive each and every week.”