Kurt Busch to drive second car for 23XI Racing in 2022
23XI Racing announced Friday night that Kurt Busch will drive a second car for the team, joining Bubba Wallace as a teammate in 2022.
Busch will drive the No. 45 Toyota Camry. Monster Energy joins Busch as sponsor.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity,” said Busch in a statement from the team. “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.”
The team did not state if it had acquired a charter for Busch’s car for next season. The team stated that additional partners and team personnel would be announced at a later date.
“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,” Hamlin said in a statement. “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.”
Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, has 33 career series wins. The 43-year-old in his third year with Chip Ganassi Racing and will be in the playoffs. He’s won at least one race in each of the past eight seasons.
Next season will be Busch’s 22nd full-time season in Cup.
His move to 23XI Racing has been expected for some time. His ability to work with younger drivers is seen as a plus to help Wallace develop. It’s a role Busch has had with Ross Chastain at Ganassi.
Next year will mark the first time the No. 45 has been used since 2008. It had been a number used by Petty Enterprises and was the number Adam Petty used in the Xfinity Series before his death in 2000. Kyle Petty issued a statement with the 45 being brought back to Cup:
“The number 45 is a special number to myself and the entire Petty family. We look forward to seeing that number back on the race track contending for race wins and championships. Seeing the number compete again, under the 23XI Racing banner, with Kurt behind the wheel, is exciting for us. While the number will always hold many memories of Adam, we know Kurt, Denny and the entire organization will represent it well. Victory Junction – a place of empowerment and inclusion for kids with chronic and serious medical illnesses envisioned by Adam – are proud to see the 45 car return and where this team will take it on the track.”