About 10 years ago at Kansas Speedway, Richard Childress had Kyle Busch in a headlock and was punching him repeatedly for an earlier run-in with RCR racer Joey Coulter. Now, the prolific NASCAR team owner and the two-time Cup Series champ will be joining forces. Funny how things change.
During a Tuesday press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richard Childress Racing announced that Kyle Busch will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for the racing team in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Tyler Reddick, who previously drove the No. 8 for RCR, will stay on with the team in 2023 as the driver of a third car.
Busch's signing with Richard Childress Racing ends his 15-year stint with Joe Gibbs Racing, during which time he won around 150 combined races in the Cup Series and Xfinity Series as well as two Cup titles, one in 2015 and the other in 2019.
"RCR has an impressive history in NASCAR and I'm honored that Richard is putting his trust in me to come in and continue to build on that legacy," Busch said in a press release. "Growing up in a family of passionate racers myself, I feel like the culture that the Childress family has built within their organization will be an ideal fit for me. As I begin the next chapter of my career, I'm looking forward to driving for RCR and working with everyone there to add more wins and championships to both of our resumes."
In his own team release, Childress added, "The addition of Kyle Busch to the Richard Childress Racing lineup is significant, not only for our organization, but for the sport as a whole."
"Kyle is a proven contender at the highest levels of the sport, and I believe that his experience and dedication to motorsports will elevate our race program across the board. I've always admired Kyle's driving style and his ability to win and race for championships ever since he entered the sport. Who wouldn't want a proven NASCAR Cup Series champion driving their car?"
Another important change for Busch, who signed a multi-year deal with RCR, is that he will also be switching from Toyota to Chevy. Despite racking up the bulk of his accolades in the No. 18 Toyota, the 37-year-old Las Vegas native is returning to the manufacturer he started his career with, hearkening back to the days when he drove the No. 5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports.
"We'd like to welcome Kyle back to Team Chevy, where he started his NASCAR career," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. "As a 60 Cup race winner and two-time champion, he will be a valuable addition to Richard Childress Racing and the Chevrolet line-up. We look forward to working with Kyle starting in 2023."
During the Tuesday press conference, Busch expressed his excitement over the next chapter in his career, while also expressing his gratitude to JGR owner Joe Gibbs.
"This is probably one of the biggest days of my life, of my career, and I'm excited to tell you about my future," Busch said. "I'm thankful to Joe [Gibbs] for allowing me to be a kid and to grow into a man."
"I had to find a place where I knew I could go win races immediately. Collecting trophies is still the main reason why I get up and go to the racetrack. I also needed a place where I could hit reset."
It's no secret that Kyle Busch and Richard Childress have had their disagreements in the past. And that's putting it lightly. During a media appearance, Busch even joked about their past feud, insisting that it's all water under the bridge.
"Who's to say he hasn't punched me again in any of these conversations?" Busch joked. "Whenever you go into negotiations, it's never fun so you're duking the whole time. I think you grow up and you work through things, and you talk it over. Really, it was fine the first time I sat down with him. Everything was OK. The biggest thing about it was just having an opportunity to kind of put that behind us."
It's clear that Richard Childress is looking for a driver who can win championships, and Busch is good on that front. The last time that RCR has fielded a title-winning racer was Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1994. Can Rowdy pick up where The Intimidator left off? That seems to be what Richard Childress is banking on.
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