As his contract negotiations for 2023 have stalled out, Kyle Busch admitted to media members at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday that he is willing to take less money in order to secure a NASCAR Cup Series ride for next season. Busch remains without a deal for next season as a lack of sponsorship has prevented him from reaching an agreement to continue driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
As explained in a story by Dustin Long of NBC Sports, financial considerations have been the most major impediment towards Busch getting a deal done with his current team. With longtime sponsor Mars Inc. leaving at the end of the 2022 season, Joe Gibbs Racing currently does not have sufficient sponsorship to pay Busch at his market value. The team reportedly was in discussions with Oracle for a potential high-profile sponsorship, but the deal fell through.
Knowing that his salary demands are a stumbling block to a deal getting done with Gibbs or any other team, Busch admitted that he may have to make sacrifices in order to ensure he still has a Cup ride next season.
“I don’t think money has ever been the objective or ever been the issue,” Busch said in a report by NASCAR.com. “Obviously, I know what the sports landscape is, I know what’s happening. The talk from my side was that I know there need to be concessions made and to race for under my market value, and I’ve accepted that and told everybody that and just trying to see where all that lies.
“… I’m willing to take concessions. I feel like the market is different than what it was years to go, and [I’m] willing to race for under my market value. So whatever that comes to be, obviously it’s a negotiation. And figuring out where I go and what the long-term play is, what the short-term play is, and hopefully not being able to go through this again.”
While Busch stated that his primary focus is on completing a deal to remain at Joe Gibbs Racing, he once again stated that he has had discussions with other teams as he assesses what his options are. Busch also once again shared that he does not have a hard deadline for getting a deal done.
Lessening the financial hurdles involved may very well aid an effort by Busch to secure a ride for 2023, as well as for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota to keep him in the No. 18 next season. Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson recently admitted to hardship in trying to keep Busch, admitting contract talks were “in a bad place” and confessing that contingency plans were being made for scenarios in which Busch ends up departing.