DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — 23XI Racing announced Friday (Aug. 27) that Kurt Busch would join the team in 2022, driving the No. 45.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity,” Busch said in a press release. “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.”
23XI Racing will be the seventh team Busch has competed for in the Cup Series, joining Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske, Phoenix Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. Toyota will be the fourth manufacturer Busch has competed for in Cup, joining Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet.
“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,” said Hamlin in the release. “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.”
The Athletic first reported in May that Busch was the leading candidate to drive a second car for 23XI Racing.
2022 will be Busch’s 22nd full-time season on the Cup circuit. Busch, now 43, made his debut in 2000 on a part-time basis.
Busch has 33 career Cup wins, including his victory earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
23XI Racing’s announcement did not mention if it had secured a charter for the No. 45.
We got our guy.
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) August 27, 2021
1 year ago I couldn’t have imagined owning a Cup team. Now 2?!? We could not have done with without the help of our partners at @ToyotaRacing. They believe in my vision and also my crazy dreams.
This is only the beginning. https://t.co/3YmY6Z0SZA
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) August 27, 2021
The No. 45, like Wallace’s No. 23, is a number Jordan wore during his days playing for the Chicago Bulls.
By using the No. 45, 23XI will be the first team to field the number in the Cup Series since Petty Enterprises did in 2008
Kyle Petty gave the team his blessing.
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
About the author
Daniel McFadin is a 7-year veteran of the NASCAR media corp. He wrote for NBC Sports from 2015 to October 2020. He's currently a freelancer and lead reporter and editor for Frontstretch. He is also host of the NASCAR show "Dropping the Hammer with Daniel McFadin" on YouTube and in podcast form.
You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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