It’s finally official.
In one of the worst kept secrets in NASCAR, veteran driver Kurt Busch and 23XI racing have announced that the first-year team will be expanding to two cars in 2022 with Busch behind the wheel.
Busch will join Bubba Wallace as the second driver for the team that’s co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. And he’ll also be taking longtime sponsor Monster Energy with him.
Along with a new team, Busch will also be driving for a new manufacturer in Toyota and will have a new car number next year, piloting the #45 in honor of the boss man.
It’s a move that’s been expected for awhile now: Busch’s current team, Chip Ganassi Racing, was recently bought by Trackhouse Racing, who announced that Busch’s teammate Ross Chastain would fill their second seat next season, leaving Busch the odd man out.
It’s a good move for 23XI, which lands one of the most veteran drivers in the Cup Series garage – a guy whose experience and knowledge about what it takes to win races should be invaluable to both the team and to Bubba Wallace.
And it’s that experience and knowledge that Hamlin praised when he addressed the addition of Busch:
“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.
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.”
For his part, Kurt is going to a team with deep pockets that’s owned by two guys who expect to compete for wins week in and week out:
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity.
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.”
But Busch’s new ride isn’t the only news that was broken by this announcement: Fans quickly noticed that the numbers on Busch’s new ride are moved forward on the door, which NASCAR confirmed would be the case on all cars next season.