23XI anticipating Kurt Busch to return in ’23 – however has a backup plan if he would not
Denny Hamlin and 23XI Racing imagine Kurt Busch will return subsequent season and if he does, the No. 45 Toyota will likely be ready for him.
Busch has been sidelined since July with concussion-like signs from a qualifying crash at Pocono Raceway. Whereas Ty Gibbs has been Busch’s substitute since then, Gibbs is predicted to switch Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing subsequent season now that the latter Busch’s future is ready. Busch is headed to Richard Childress Racing, the place he’ll exchange Tyler Reddick within the No. 8 Chevrolet.
Nonetheless, these offers are intertwined, as Reddick is signed with 23XI Racing starting in 2024. With Busch sidelined and the continued pressure between Reddick and Childress evident, questions have arisen about whether or not Reddick may head to Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s workforce a yr early.
23XI and Toyota are at the moment staying out of the Reddick/Childress fray. As a substitute, Hamlin is targeted on letting Busch recuperate whereas additionally being properly conscious of the fluid state of affairs round his automobile.
“We nonetheless really feel like Kurt’s going to run subsequent yr if he doesn’t, we’ve already bought contingency plans for the 45 automobile,” Hamlin stated. “If was pushed to the facet I believe we might take him, however I don’t know that we want actually get into pushing to get him early.
“I believe that Tyler’s stated — and I imagine it — that he desires to reside out his contract at RCR. Principally he wished to do it for his workforce and his guys. With him being taken out of the 8 automobile, I don’t know if that modifications. However I do know Tyler wished to finish what he began there. As you noticed, he’s nonetheless giving that workforce a ton of success. So, I believe the almost certainly state of affairs is RCR has a very robust lineup subsequent yr, with three guys that every one may win races.”
It’s not so simple as wanting Reddick and placing him in a automobile. Reddick’s contract at Childress would should be purchased out, both by Childress or 23XI. Neither is making a transfer proper now, with Childress saying earlier this week in the course of the Busch announcement that he’ll have a 3rd automobile for Reddick subsequent season, however it received’t be the one he’s at the moment in that’s contending for the Cup Sequence championship.
“One factor we’ve seen over the past couple of months is Tyler Reddick has continued to be an expert,” Hamlin stated. “He’s given his workforce 110%. That’s one thing he all the time stated. And I do know conversations I had with different folks, that they’d no query he was going to provide 110%, even after the announcement, for his race workforce, for his producer.
“I believe he’s delivered on that. Regardless of the circumstances getting thrown at him, I’m very sure that he’s going to take care of that stage of professionalism and take it in stride.”
There have been no updates on Kurt Busch’s standing because it was introduced late final month that he would miss the beginning of the playoffs. Bristol Motor Speedway (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET) wraps up the primary spherical, and there have been no indications Busch will likely be again to start the Spherical of 12 subsequent weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hamlin and 23XI Racing are additionally not giving him any deadlines for when a call must be made about his quick future or going into subsequent season.
“We’ve by no means wished to push Kurt to any type of resolution in any respect, which is why we’ve been affected person with him even this yr,” stated Hamlin. “Clearly, the chance is all the time open for him to come back again anytime he desires. We’ve Kurt underneath contract this yr, subsequent yr and an non-compulsory third yr.
“I believe it’s vital for us to ensure Kurt has the chance to come back again at any time when he desires. Conditions might change across the race workforce shouldn’t have an effect on our dedication to Kurt in any respect. I need to be certain he all the time has that chance, and we don’t fill a spot that in the end, he’s more likely to come again to.”