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Ryan: Kyle Busch should overtake NASCAR in free agency

INDIANAPOLIS — In his ongoing free agency saga that has turned into perhaps the biggest story of the NASCAR season, Kyle Busch confirmed talks with other teams, but did not specify which ones. did.

Stewart Haas Racing and their 10th vacancy. Richard Childress Racing and their lame duck number 8. Others are a little more obscure.

Will Trackhouse Racing put him in a third car on another charter? Will Cowrig Racing be able to place him full-time (in a rotating line-up) in 16th place? Will Petty GMS make a power play to team him up with Eric Jones (who Bush discovered in Snowball his Derby nearly a decade ago)?

However, these are all Cup Series teams.

If Bush is seriously exploring all his options after 15 seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing, his weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take him through the backgate of Gasoline Alley to the NTT Indy. It should have included a trip to the Car Series paddock.

Chip Ganassi had hired Busch to try and drive a Cup car 15 years ago (and was the runner-up in a bitter bidding war that resulted in Busch leaving Hendrick Motorsports for Gibbs). Michael Andretti drove for Kyle’s older brother Kurt (who finished his sixth as Rookie of the Year) at the 2014 Indy 500.

Zak Brown seems desperate to get every driver in the world into McLaren Racing.

IndyCar’s Silly season is in full swing, and Bush has no problem attracting an audience of suitors interested in his talents, whether it’s a one-off Indy 500 entry or a schedule of multiple races. should lead.

The idea of ​​Bush racing beyond NASCAR once seemed immense.

But with the 2022 Cup season unfolding without a multi-year and hefty salary deal for Bush, the odds should be greater than ever. First recognized at Police Motor Speedway.

“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t we go on tour with[Kyle]Larson,'” Bush said of NBC’s talk about whether his uncertain future could lead outside of NASCAR. Said in response to a sports question. “Run a late model, dirt car, IMSA, Indy. And it’s like ‘Oh my God.’ It seems to add a new element to everything.

“And it’s probably at the bottom of my list of things I want to entertain, but I wouldn’t leave it out.”

I can understand why Bush would be overwhelmed, but he should do more than entertain with the concept.

For many reasons, leaving NASCAR should be your first choice.

Aside from winning the Daytona 500, the 37-year-old Busch doesn’t have much to achieve in the Cup. His first ballot into the Hall of Fame has already been confirmed. His versatility is legendary with his 200 wins in top 3 national series.

Winning the title in several ways has become more arbitrary than ever since the current knockout playoff format was introduced in 2014 (including the final pit stop that determined last year’s champion). Witness) race).

Bush chases the record, but will never reach seven championships. When it comes to multiple champions, what really is the difference between two, four, or six championships? Championship round appearances are remembered for their elite consistency.

Consider your options if Bush chooses to stay in NASCAR (at least in the short term it could cost you millions of dollars less).

He can give Gibbs a home-team discount (perhaps with a year-long “bridge” to a longer extension), but his relationship with the team is permanently altered through a process that takes months. There are some aspects that look like re-signing.

Ty Gibbs has emerged as a sure-fire future star, and even if Bush stays on (especially on a one-year deal) and Joe Gibbs’ grandson spends another year at Xfinity, he’ll be on his way to the inevitable cup. The Parlor Games will start fresh next January, with the future of Martin Truex Jr. and Bush slotting Ty Gibbs into one of their cars for 2024. It talks about what to do.

The teenager’s appearance was one of the confluences of extenuating circumstances that clearly upset Bush during contract negotiations that dragged on for months longer than anyone had hoped.

Certainly, it’s not Bush’s fault (nor Gibbs’ to some extent) that potential sponsors have failed amid the recent economic turmoil and continued resetting of NASCAR’s superstar drivers’ salaries. The team was also informed of the withdrawal of Mars long before the 2022 season and still had nothing to line up.

Team Owner Joe Gibbs spoke with Kyle Busch during Saturday’s practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Bob Goshardt/IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports Network).

The most attractive option for Kyle Busch is Stewart Haas Racing. Kevin Harvick’s welcoming comments on Saturday show it could be a good fit, with Gene Haas’ deep pockets forcing Bush to fall below his perceived market value. But given the SHR’s performance since last season (and the Ford Mustang’s current state in the Cup), it’s not a lateral move.

As Harvick hinted, Busch is a franchise driver who can single-handedly raise the team’s game, but it will likely take at least a year for him to adjust, with Busch approaching the backside of his career prime. I’m here.

The same problem applies to many other mid-tier teams looking to bring on Busch as a superstar and attract talented engineers and team members from NASCAR powerhouses.

Bush may have the knowledge and talent to lead a rebuilding project, but does the self-described “KFB”, especially in his late 30s, have the patience or the temperament? (Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing Ask how you are progressing in your first year as a driver and owner of

‘Rowdy’ is all about showing his ability to race everywhere and always leave a mark.

Busch has publicly said he would like to race in the Indy 500 (the deal was turned down by Gibbs in 2017) and would like to run for an overall prototype win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The world of racing could suddenly become his oyster, and if he takes the bold step of seriously exploring it, Bush may find even more endless opportunities for interest from the series (Team you don’t have to worry about it).

IndyCar has multiple runs in the crossover for him, and Roger Penske (who hinted at Kyle Larson’s future Indy 500) has confirmed that Busch will race at Brickyard in May. It’s easy to imagine a dirt series like World of Outlaws bending backwards to help arrange his passage to prestigious events such as the Knoxville Nationals.

Kyle Busch has more than 200 wins in three NASCAR domestic series (Mark Rebrick/USA TODAY Sports).

The ship has sailed in Formula One, but Busch has long been internationally talked about as having the cosmetics to race internationally. With the massive influx of manufacturer money into sports cars, unexpected doors could open beyond the Rolex 24 and Le Mans.

This could be a supercharged version of the Kyle Larson Tour that captivated much of the racing world in 2020.

There is one big problem. It’s money.

He has often spoken about the Kyle Busch Motorsports 50 Family reliance on his truck series teams to put food on the table. Maintaining a 30,000-square-foot Lake Norman mansion would be a lot easier on a cup salary, and it would be difficult to piece together enough from the lower series to make up the difference.

But he’s already open to receiving less on his next Gibbs deal. This shows that money may not be so much of an issue in any scenario, and that there could be creative new revenue streams outside of NASCAR for the biggest lightning rod in the Cup Series. (Larson briefly made a seven-digit number to sell dirt merchandise).

Bush is the greatest driver in NASCAR. So it makes even more sense for him to look beyond his stock car for his next step.