NASCAR Champion Kurt Bush will step away from the game

NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will miss the rest of this season with a shock and won’t compete full-time in 2023.

The 44-year-old made his announcement Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his home track and where he began his career at bullring as a child. He suffocated when doctors told him “it’s best for me to shut it down.”

“I know I’m not 100% in my ability to go out and race at the top level in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Bush said. “These are the best drivers, and lately, I haven’t felt my best.”

Bush said Tyler Reddick would replace him at No. 45 Toyota at 23XI Racing next season. Reddick was signed to the team for the 2024 season, but is no longer required to fulfill his contract at Richard Childress Racing as RCR have signed Kurt’s younger brother and two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch for the next season. .

#41 Monster Energy Ford driver Kurt Bush rides in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lecca/Getty Images

“If I’m approved, maybe you’ll see me in a select few races” next season, Bush said.

Bush was injured in a routine accident in July that exposed a design flaw in NASCAR’s new Next Gen car. He has missed 13 consecutive races so far. Driver Alex Bowman, who was also injured this year, missed two straight runs and said he would be out at least three more this week.

Bush is the last active driver to have competed in the Cup race against the late Dale Earnhardt, and the last driver to be part of the inaugural 10-driver chase for the Cup in 2004, the year he upset the Hendricks Motorsports juggernaut and made his only debut. Won title.

Busch’s retirement leaves Kevin Harvick as the last active driver to lead NASCAR’s top series called the Winston Cup Series.

23XI praised Bush’s contribution to the second year’s team.

The team said, “From the day Kurt Bush joined our team, we knew he was going to lift our organization in many ways.” “From our first playoff berth to our commanding win at Kansas Speedway by earning 23XI many hours spent helping to scale up our program, Kurt has made us better.

“This season took an unexpected turn with his injury. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Kurt hasn’t stopped being a true professional and a dependable teammate. We fully support Kurt’s decision to focus on his health.” and are grateful for their guidance as our team builds a strong foundation for the future.”

He is in his second season with 23XI Racing and team co-owner Denny Hamlin said the organization and Toyota want Bush to remain a part of the team. He is under contract from next season until 23XI.

“Kurt’s decision to move away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition next year is certainly not what anyone expected when we started the season together and celebrated in victory lane at Kansas Speedway,” said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development.

“Unfortunate circumstances led Kurt to a difficult decision, but we know he will continue to contribute to the entire program at Toyota, TRD and 23XI Racing. He provides tremendous knowledge and direct championship experience to his team and fellow Toyota competitors. We are here to support Kurt in this next chapter of his career and look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Bush made his cup debut at Ford in 2000 with Roush Racing, then ran a full season as a rookie in 2001. He was fired after five turbulent seasons with Roush – a stint that included his 2004 title – and moved to Team Penske to drive a Dodge in 2006.

Their Penske relationship also ended badly after the 2011 season, and Bush moved to Phoenix Racing to drive Chevrolet for James Finch for one season, then moved to Furniture Row Racing in 2013, where he revived his career. Did – and began to show maturity. Track with your infamous nature.

Bush moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 and was suspended by NASCAR for the first three races of 2015 for domestic violence allegations leveled by an ex-girlfriend. He later went on to drive Toyota in 2021 with Chip Ganassi Racing and finally the 23XI.

He is one of the rare drivers to compete in all of NASCAR’s manufacturers. Bush and his brothers Bobby and Terry joined Labonte as the only siblings to win the Cup title.

Busch won 34 races in 776 starts over 23 years, including the Daytona 500 in 2017 with SHR and sponsor Monster, who is with him to this day.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said, “For more than two decades, we’ve had the privilege of watching Kurt Bush compete. He’s proven himself to be a champion on the racetrack, but perhaps just as importantly, he’s been a part of the sport. A true ambassador for Told. “Kurt’s drive to improve the future of motorsport has set him apart. We are thrilled that he will continue to be a leader and trusted resource in our sport. Kurt’s unparalleled passion for racing gives us hope that We’ll see him again in the race car.”

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