2004 NASCAR Cup champion Kurt Busch was introduced as the second driver for 23XI Racing for 2022 Friday. The rumor had been circulating for several months and was confirmed on social media by the team Friday evening.
Busch will drive the No. 45 Toyota for the team, co-owned by Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan, is in its first full year with driver Bubba Wallace.
Speculation began to mount about the move when Trackhouse Racing announced in June that it had acquired the assets of Chip Ganassi Racing who will be leaving NASCAR after this year. As part of the acquisition, Trackhouse will field a second car with driver Ross Chastain from Ganassi partnering with Trackhouse’s current driver Daniel Suarez. That left Busch without a ride for 2022.
That lack of a seat for next year officially ended Friday night.
Busch joins 23XI Racing for his 23rd season in the NASCAR Cup Series following a three year stint with Chip Ganassi Racing where he drove the No. 1 car. The 2004 Cup Series champion comes to 23XI Racing with 33 Cup Series wins and 326 top-10 finishes throughout his career.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity,” said Busch. “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.”
“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 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin. “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.”
Monster Energy will join Busch at 23XI Racing and serve as the primary partner of the No. 45 TRD Camry.
We got our guy.
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) August 27, 2021
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