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Toyota ‘disappointed, saddened’ to lose Kyle Busch

Jeff Burton and Dustin Long react to Kyle Busch's decision to leave Joe Gibbs Racing for Richard Childress Racing in 2023, what it means for Tyler Reddick, and the likelihood of Ty Gibbs filling JGR's open seat.

After Kyle Busch announced his decision to join Richard Childress Racing and Chevrolet Tuesday morning, Toyota’s racing arm released a statement expressing its disappointment at losing its top driver, calling Busch one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history.

“While we certainly wish Kyle the best of luck in the future and congratulate him on his announcement to join Richard Childress Racing, we’re disappointed and saddened that his future won’t continue to be with Team Toyota,” said Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson in a statement released by Toyota.

“Kyle has been an ambassador for Toyota since joining the program in 2008. He’s gone on to accumulate some of the most prestigious milestones possible for the Toyota brand, including our first Cup Series win for the Camry and first Cup Series championship.

MORE: Questions and answers about Kyle Busch’s move to RCR

“He will undoubtedly hold the record for the most wins in a Toyota across all three championship series for decades to come. But more than that, Kyle has been a friend, part of our family and has played a key role in the development of many of our drivers through his ownership of Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“We wish nothing but the best for Kyle and his entire family as he moves into the next chapter of his Hall of Fame career. We’re thankful to have been along for the ride.”

Wilson was heavily involved in trying to keep Busch in the Toyota fold.

In another statement released Tuesday, team owner Joe Gibbs, who scored 56 Cup victories with Busch at the wheel, expressed thanks for their partnership.

“Kyle has been a major part of our history and success here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Gibbs said. “We are thankful for all his contributions to our organization over the years. When you look at all that he has accomplished already, it is truly remarkable, and we know someday we will be celebrating his Hall of Fame induction. We also know he still has many more achievements in our sport ahead of him, including competing for the championship this season. We wish Kyle, Samantha, Brexton, and Lennix the very best.”

Toyota also will lose its connection to Busch in the Camping World Truck Series, as Busch said Tuesday his Kyle Busch Motorsports operation will be a Chevrolet team next season.