Kyle Busch’s return to Xfinity Series racing is a consolation prize

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, signs autographs for fans during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 65th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In his quest to find a new NASCAR Cup Series team for 2023, Kyle Busch made some new friends along the way.

Though he opted for Richard Childress Racing in NASCAR’s premier division, Busch discovered he was simpatico with one of his other suitors—Kaulig Racing—and that led to a five-race deal in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Busch bowed out of Xfinity racing after the 2021 season when he won all five of his starts and increased his victory total in the series to a record 102—a number that may prove as unassailable Richard Petty’s 200 Cup wins.

But circumstances have changed with Busch’s move from a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to an RCR Chevrolet, and that includes the willingness to help Kaulig establish benchmarks for its Xfinity program.

Busch will share the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet with a roster that includes fellow Cup drivers AJ Allmendinger, Austin Dillon and Justin Haley. Busch will debut in the Kaulig car in his native Las Vegas and also will race at Phoenix, Charlotte, Watkins Glen and Darlington.

Though Busch had to disappoint team owner Matt Kaulig and president Chris Rice on the Cup side, he wanted to build on the warm relationship that developed during the job-seeking process.

“When it came down to decision time and I had to let everybody know who wasn’t the choice for going Cup racing with, I told them that I would still love to drive for them and have a chance to go race his cars,” Busch said. “It just wouldn’t be on Sunday.

“They were gracious enough to let me run in their Xfinity program, and I would love to go over there and help those guys out. I feel like they are really, really, really close and right on the brink of a force to be reckoned with in the Xfinity Series, and I would love to help carry that torch to the next level.”