Kurt Busch made it official Saturday morning in his hometown that he will not be racing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023.
“This NASCAR Village is my home and I love it here,” read a statement on Busch’s Twitter page, which he also read in the Las Vegas media center. “28 years ago, I stood in this area of the desert and took a glamorous photo with my first racing car, which I built with my father and my family. Racing is all I love. I have ever known. My passion, my ethics and my perseverance have helped me achieve all the dreams a child can dream of.
“There is no one reason why or one person or one circumstance that made a bigger difference than another. He took everything and everyone. That said, I know I’m not 100% in my ability to go out and race at the highest level in the NASCAR Cup Series. They are the best of the best riders and lately I haven’t been feeling my best.
“The doctors came to the conclusion that it was best for me to ‘shut it down’ for this season. Although I have made solid gains since working with the top specialists and the Toyota Performance Center team, I I’m still not 100% and I’m still not cleared to compete.
“As I continue to focus on my health and work to be cleared, I will be stepping away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition in 2023. My long-term health is the #1 priority, and I don’t feel that committed to competing for a championship next year is in my best interest or in the best interest of the team.
Busch, the 2004 series champion, suffered a concussion in a qualifying crash at Pocono Raceway in July. He hasn’t raced since.
Tyler Reddick was released early from Richard Childress Racing and will drive the No. 45 at 23XI Racing next season. Reddick was expected to join the organization in 2024.
“I have truly enjoyed working with 23XI and this team of wonderful professionals and appreciate the support they have shown me over the past few months,” Busch continued. “I will continue to work with this group with the wisdom and knowledge gained from the PhD. I won in this garage. We are building something special here and I look forward to continuing to work with Bubba [Wallace] off-road as well as Tyler Reddick, who will join the team next year to drive the #45 Toyota.
“I will continue to be a brand ambassador with Monster Energy, which is my family. Our brotherhood and sisterhood of athletes are the best of the best. Monster Energy and I have been together for over a decade and have traveled the world to the conquest of a “club lifestyle”.
“Toyota and TRD are also part of my future. They embraced me like a long lost brother, and I am grateful for that support. We will continue to go places together.
A statement from Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson read: “Kurt’s decision to retire from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition next year is certainly not something that was expected. when we started the season together and celebrated in victory lane at Kansas Speedway earlier this year. .
“Unfortunate circumstances led Kurt to a difficult decision, but we know he will continue to contribute to the overall program at Toyota, TRD and 23XI Racing. He brings a huge amount of knowledge and championship experience to his team. and other Toyota competitors. We are here to support Kurt in this new chapter of his career and we look forward to continuing to work alongside him.
Busch joined 23XI Racing this season in a second car for the organization. A win at Kansas Speedway was the second for the organization and first qualified Busch for the playoffs – what would have been 23XI Racing’s first playoff appearance – but he pulled out knowing he couldn’t. wasn’t going to be able to compete. .
Busch’s Cup Series career began in 2000 with Jack Roush. In 23 years, other owners Busch has driven for are Roger Penske, Tony Stewart and Chip Ganassi.
In 776 starts, Busch has 34 career wins.
“And to all NASCAR fans, I can’t thank you enough for your support throughout the journey this year and all years,” Busch said. “Your grades and words of encouragement have meant a lot to me. I have also been blessed throughout my career to race with so many great teams, teammates and sponsors. All those people I have encountered along the way have made the trip so far even more special.
“I am still competitive, passionate and want to continue to perform according to my core values and give back to a community that has been my life since I left Las Vegas to pursue a career as a professional pilot over 22 years ago. Next year my racing contributions might look a little different, but I will continue to give my best to the sport. And, if I’m allowed, maybe you’ll see me at some races.