NASCAR: Kurt Busch Joining 23XI Racing In Second Car (Update)
Rumors continue to swirl that 23XI and Front Row Motorsports will make a deal for a charter next season. Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass tweed about the potential situation Wednesday.
23XI is expected to do a deal with Front Row with likely one charter used by the 45 next year and the other one possibly leased. https://t.co/G97mHZdOzU
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 1, 2021
Front Row’s Michael McDowell says he has an opportunity to run again, but did not specify that it was in the Cup Series. There has been speculation that Front Row would run Xfinity and Truck next year.
Michael McDowell says he is in discussions with Front Row Motorsports about 2022 and he does have the opportunity to run full-time again. “That’s my plan.” But he also acknowledges it’s still early for the company to be finalizing things #NASCAR
— Kelly Crandall (@KellyCrandall) August 31, 2021
Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass tweeted Saturday about a potential deal between 23XI Racing and Front Row Motorsports that would allow 23XI to expand to a two car team next season.
The team has been actively looking for another charter for 2022, but is willing to run the full season without one if sponsorship is secured. Kurt Busch has been most widely speculated as the team’s newest driver.
Is a 23XI-FRM deal for charter(s) and/or merger in the works?
Hamlin w/media today:
Do u have a deal going on with Front Row for a charter?
“I don’t have any deals with anyone right now.”
Are u close?
“We’re still working through it. It’s week to week to be honest with you.”
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 14, 2021
August 27, 2021
23XI Racing announced on Friday that Kurt Busch will join the organization next season as part of an expansion to a two-car team in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.
The 43-year-old Busch will pair with teammate Bubba Wallace as the organization enters its second Cup Series season. The team debuted this year after NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin partnered to create 23XI, fielding the No. 23 Toyota for Wallace.
Busch will drive the No. 45 Toyota — coincidentally the other number that Jordan is known for wearing during his Pro Basketball Hall of Fame career as well as his minor league baseball career. Monster Energy is on board as the primary sponsor as well.
“I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity,” Busch said in a team release. “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.”
Hamlin had been bullish about the team’s growth to a two-car operation, saying in media availabilities before Friday’s announcement that the team did not have a firm timetable for expansion. When asked in May about what sort of driver 23XI was considering for a proposed second car, Hamlin quipped: “A good one.”
Jordan and Hamlin have one in Busch, who has won 33 races at NASCAR’s top level and claimed the Cup Series championship in 2004. The well-traveled Busch has spent the last three seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing, whose NASCAR assets were purchased by Trackhouse Racing in a deal announced June 30 that takes effect after the 2021 season.
“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 team release. “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.”