Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs breakup saga coming to an end

Kyle Busch has arguably been one of the best drivers in NASCAR since he started driving for Hendrick Motorsports in the Grand National Series (now known as the xfinity series) at just 18 years old. After that season he would go full time in the Cup Series and race there until 2008 where he would sign a contract which could go down as the most influential signing in the sport’s history; not just for Joe Gibbs Racing, but also for Toyota Racing Development. Busch has since raced for JGR and become the best driver in their history as well as being the best Toyota driver in the sport. On top of all that, Kyle Busch started a Truck Series team that would develop some of the best talents we have in the sport today. 

At the start of the 2022 season, talks of Busch and his future with Joe Gibbs ramped up due to being a contract year and the announcement that Mars, his primary sponsor for the season, would be leaving the sport after the Championship race. This announcement would essentially leave Busch sponsorless after the 2022 season thus making it more difficult to stay with a team long term. Busch did what he does best with the media, dragging them along and not giving a full answer. Before the first Talladega race in April Busch was in an interview and instead of talking about his own future said “ask Coach Gibbs.” After this interview it became apparent that Busch and Gibbs were no longer on the great terms everyone thought they were on. This became even more clear after Pocono when Coach went to talk to his driver after a second place finish at the Tricky Triangle, Busch walked past the owner without even exchanging a hello. The talk quickly flipped from “when will he re-sign with Gibbs?” to “Who is going to pick up Kyle Busch?” That question would eventually be answered when Kyle announced that he would be driving the 8 car for Richard Childress Racing. This not only impacts the Cup Series field but this also has a heavy impact on the Truck Series as Kyle Busch Motorsports, a premier Toyota truck team that is a big part in their pipeline, would be expected to become a part of the Chevrolet pipeline and take their drivers with them. Toyotas driver development now has only a few prospects left and will need to fight to regain their pipeline in the coming years. 

While all of this Kyle Busch drama was going on at the Gibbs Cup stable, down in the xfinity Series there was a young kid tearing it up both literally and figuratively, quickly showing he has the talent to move up in the sport very soon. This kid also happens to share a last name with the man himself, Coach Gibbs. Twenty year old Ty Gibbs needs a Cup ride next year and it would seem Kyle Busch has been made the casualty on his road to stardom. Gibbs has drawn many comparisons to Busch with a fierce combination of talent, aggression, and attitude. With the opportunity to come in at a low cost investment, his grandpa looks to be pushing him up and into the flagship car ASAP. 

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Homestead Speedway on November 17, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

After the RCR announcement it was be smooth sailing for both sides with the tension seeming to go away until the Playoffs where the 18 car experienced multiple mechanical issues on track, including an engine expiration while leading the Southern 500. After another engine failure at Bristol, Kyle was duly eliminated at the end of the first round of the Cup Playoffs. Perhaps no better example of these issues came at Martinsville. At the Xfinity 500 it seemed like Busch was yet again thrown to the side for his teammates and given the worst car in the garage causing him to drive around the back all day long, including a last place finish in the first stage, 4 laps behind the leader. Both parties seem glad that their long history is finally coming to an end so they can part ways and start fresh for next season. 

Next year should be somewhat of a revenge tour for Busch as he will be out to prove to everyone he still has what it takes and make Joe Gibbs regret ever letting him walk away, and it will be amazing to watch. As for Gibbs if Ty can’t pick up the slack they are in for a long season in 2023. 

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