Driver for hire? Kyle Busch may need a new home after this season

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA - APRIL 23: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, 2022 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch may need to find a new sponsor, and a seat at the end of the 2022 season.

Busch will lose his longtime sponsor at the end of this season as longtime sponsor Mars announced late last year they will leave the sport at the end of 2022.

That leaves the No. 18 Toyota fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing and driven by Busch since 2008 without a primary sponsor for next season.

“I’m not getting antsy about it,” Busch, who is sometimes known as a man with few words, said at Talladega Saturday. “If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. Goodbye.”

There’s also another issue for the team. Busch signed his current contract with JGR in 2019. While the exact length wasn’t disclosed at the time, it is believed that it might the end of 2022. Busch won his Cup titles with Gibbs, in 2015 and 2019. He’s also won 60 Cup races, all but four of those with JGR. Saturday, Busch was asked if he and Gibbs had started working on an extension.

“Ask Joe Gibbs,” Busch said.

Should it happen and his contract isn’t renewed, Busch indicated Saturday that he wouldn’t be interested in running another series, even the team he owns Kyle Busch Motorsports which has found success in the NASCAR Truck series winning Truck series titles, and three consecutive owner titles. And he won’t say he is “retired.”

“I would say I lost my ride,” Busch said, “(like) Cole Trickle once said.”

As for what he would do. Busch said flippantly:

 “I’ll probably be Brexton Busch’s truck driver.”

Brexton is Kyle’s 6-year-old son who is in the early stages of his own racing career.

Photos: NASCAR at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday Apr. 23, 2022

Greg Engle