It’s official – after months of speculation, rumors, and a leak just before the announcement, two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will leave his Toyota race team to take control of the No. 8 Nascar Camaro ZL1 in 2023.
Busch held a press conference on September 13th, confirming that he is parting ways with current Toyota-backed team Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) at the end of the 2022 Cup Series season. Beginning with the 2023 Daytona 500, Busch will drive the No. 8 Nascar Camaro fielded by Richard Childress Racing (RCR), marking the driver’s return to a Bow Tie-backed race team for the first time since 2007. Busch has driven the No. 18 Toyota TRD Camry since 2008.
“I think it started earlier this year when we were racing at the (Los Angeles) Coliseum when the 8 car blew my doors off and was driving away,” Busch explained of his decision. “I certainly knew right then and there at the beginning of the season that those guys definitely had some speed.
“When (team owner) Richard (Childress) and I sat down and we first had discussions of this opportunity, it was easy. It was a clear-cut choice that this was a place that you could go win races and win championships right out of the gate.”
Currently, Tyler Reddick drives the No. 8 Camaro for RCR, and Childress had only broken the news to Reddick an hour before the conference with Busch that the Reddick would not drive No. 8 Chevy race car next year. However, Reddick does have a contract with RCR for 2023, meaning that the race team will field a third Chevy in the Cup Series next year. Busch will join Reddick and Austin Dillon, who drives the No. 3 Nascar Camaro, for the forthcoming season, under the RCR umbrella.
Childress said that he does have sponsorship commitments in line for Busch and the No. 8 Camaro next year, but will announce these at a later date.
“Just how he handles the car, the car control, the way he drives the car and take-no-prisoners attitude, that’s the Dale Earnhardt style I was accustomed to racing with,” said Childress, who owned the famous No. 3 Chevy driven by Earnhardt until his death. “I think Kyle has that modern-day style of racing that Dale Earnhardt had in his time.”
Busch also stated that his Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), intends to compete in the 2023 season as a Chevrolet-branded team instead of Toyota, fielding Silverado race trucks. “We are still working on that sort of stuff with General Motors and Chevrolet,” he said.