Kurt Busch signs with 23XI Racing for 2022by Jack Gaffney August 28, 2021 0 comments
A big domino, albeit an expected one, has now fallen in NASCAR Silly Season. 2004 Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch is officially headed to 23XI Racing at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. The Las Vegas native is now set to join his seventh team at the Cup level, in what will be his 22nd season. Despite still being in the market for a team charter, the wheels are most certainly in motion for this move.
We got our guy.
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) August 27, 2021
All In the Numbers
Despite driving for seven different teams, the elder Busch brother has more car numbers to his credit. Entering 2022, number 45 can be added to that list. The significance is, not surprisingly, tied to team co-owner Michael Jordan. Jordan wore 45 in Minor League Baseball, as well as briefly in his second stint with the Chicago Bulls.
As far as NASCAR goes, 45 has some prior lineage. The number was run by the late Adam Petty, who tragically passed away in a crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at just 19-years-old. His father Kyle Petty, who was running number 44 at this point, switched to 45 for the remainder of his Cup career. He even released a statement on the number being brought back, as it has not been used since 2008.
Kyle Petty statement on the No. 45 returning to competition as the number for Kurt Busch: pic.twitter.com/jgdbbbw7i7
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 27, 2021
Unleash the Beast
Not much of a surprise, but Monster Energy is sticking around with Busch as they have for the better part of the last decade. Outside of the green claws, no other sponsorships appear to have been formally announced. One other interesting thing to mention, however. Busch has used Alpinestar firesuits for quite a long time, in the intro video above, he was in a Jordan Brand firesuit.
The Sky is the Limit
A big reason why Busch to 23XI is a great move is what he brings beyond the track. You may not see it, but he has a proven track record of making the teams he is with better. There is no better example of that than Furniture Row Racing. While they did have a Cup Series win before he got there, Busch was able to get the now-defunct Denver-based team to the playoffs in his only full year with the team. In other words, Busch walked at Furniture Row so that Martin Truex Jr. could run.
Busch also could be big for his new teammate Bubba Wallace as well. Having a driver with over 20 years of Cup experience at your disposal for advice and feedback is invaluable. Not to mention having a proven plate race driver to stick with at Daytona and Talledega is never a bad thing to have as well. Wallace seemed rather excited on Twitter on Friday that Busch is coming aboard as well.
Been holding it in for a while…duh.
Beyond excited to have @KurtBusch join the fam!! Brings a lot that I don’t have to the team!
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) August 27, 2021
All things considered, 23XI could not have done better with a second driver selection here. While Busch may not be a front-of-the-pack title favorite, he will lay the bricks for future success down for years to come. A great pick-up by Denny Hamlin and Jordan.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images