Greer Smith: Kyle Busch signs multi-year contract
Coming to the end of the 2012 season after not making the NASCAR Chase for the Championship, Kyle Busch could have decided to make 2013 his last at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Instead, he chose to stay put, eliminating a potential headache for Gibbs.
At the final stop of the annual NASCAR Media Tour on Thursday, Busch and Gibbs announced that Busch has signed a “multi-year” contract to remain one of JGR’s drivers past the end of this season.
“I have made one transition (when he went from Hendrick Motorsports to Gibbs),” Busch said. “So it’s not like I can’t do another one. It’s just all the relationships (from the team to sponsors to Toyota). There’s a lot more for me to loose if I go somewhere else than staying at a place where I know we have the resources to win championships.”
Gibbs officials first approached him about the extension in August, Busch said, but he wanted to concentrate on trying to make the Chase for the Championship over the last 10 races of the 36-race schedule, After failing to qualify for the Chase, Busch and JGR started working on the extension in November.
He said that he had offers from two other teams and that he didn’t want to drag out the decision over the season.
“I had a time in my head that I wanted to make a decision by and I didn’t want to draw it our further,” Busch said. “I had already takes two years off Joe’s life.”
Busch added that the deal includes racing Nationwide cars out of the Gibbs shop instead for his own team, which will have Parker Kligerman in a full-time entry and Trucks for Joey Coulter and Busch. Busch said Gibbs was adamant that Busch drive JGR’s Nationwide cars. As part of the deal, Busch will get JGR engines for his team.
“When Parker came along with enough for a full-time deal, it allowed everything to flow together,” Busch said.
He added that having Matt Kenseth become one of JGR’s Cup drivers also influenced his decision.
Busch got in a little needle at Kenseth during a group question and answer session.
When asked about running well in a recent test session at Daytona, Kenseth said “I must have gotten all the good stuff.”
To which Busch replied, kiddingly: “I’ll just make for it with talent.”
JGR will field four Nationwide cars this season. Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler will try for the Nationwide championship. Busch will be the primary driver for another entry in 25 races (with the others handled by development drivers); and Kenseth and JGR Cup driver Denny Hamlin will be among the drivers for another.
TO BE DETERMINED
Ryan Blaney, who drove some Nationwide races for Penske Racing last season, is back with the stories organization once again.
But, he still doesn’t know how many races he will get to do being the third driver for a car that is expected to feature Penske’s Cup drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
“I asked for X number for races but that didn’t happen,” Blaney said on Wednesday night at the Penske shop. “Hopefully, we’ll know something in the next couple of weeks.”
Smithfield Food announced it will sponsor the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 and driver Aric Almirola in 25 races. . .Shell signed a contract extension as sponsor of Penske Racing’s No. 22, now driven by Joey Logano. , . .Roush-Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush said his plan is to put Trevor Bayne in a Cup car in 2014 if performance and sponsorship are up to standards.