Kyle Busch feels like he might be ‘screwed’ if a Gibbs deal falls through

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JULY 30: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Peanut Butter Toyota, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Few news items are as hot right now as the future of two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch.

Busch’s contract with Joe Gibbs Racing ends at the close of this season. With his longtime sponsor Mars announcing they will be leaving NASCAR after this year, Busch faces an uncertain future, at a time in the season when traditionally drivers’ contracts for the next season are signed, sealed, and delivered.

Saturday it was announced that Erik Jones has signed a multiyear extension to drive the No. 43 Chevrolet for Petty GMS Racing.

Busch meanwhile faced the media still wondering just what he will be doing next season.

“Yeah, anything’s on the table,” Busch told the media at Indy Saturday. “We’re talking ’23 options; we’re talking ’24 options. We’re talking long term. Everybody, everything. The white board is quite full.”

He admits that he has talked to other teams, and that despite speculation he isn’t holding out for more money.

“I don’t think money has ever been the objective or ever been the issue,” Busch said. “Obviously, I know what the sports landscape is, I know what’s happening. The talk from my side was that I know there need to be concessions made and to race for under my market value, and I’ve accepted that and told everybody that and just trying to see where all that lies.”

He said that sponsorship remains the biggest issue.

“It’s tough, right,” he said. “You’ve got to have sponsorship in this sport to be able to go forward. It’s not as simple as being a basketball player and being a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James or something like that and being a really good player and the team losing a sponsor and then saying, ‘OK, Michael and LeBron, we have to let you go because we can’t afford you.’ Again, you have to have some sponsorship on this car. Unfortunately, there’s not that unicorn. There’s not that big 20-million-dollar number out there. I’d like to be able to piece it together, but I haven’t heard much on that yet, either.”

Busch has said he wants nothing more than to stay at Gibbs and continue on with that organization, but he has to look at other options, just in case.

“I feel as though I’ve said, and I’ll continue to say my first goal is to stay at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said. “But if the musical chairs music stops, and I’m still standing and I don’t have a seat, I’m screwed. So, I have to make sure that I continue to talk and evaluate each place and each situation to find something.”