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NASCAR: Kyle Busch weighs big options as decision nears for 2023

Kyle Busch is weighing his options as a decision for the 2023 NASCAR season and beyond appears to be coming sooner rather than later.

Austin Konenski
NASCAR: Coke Zero Sugar 400
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Kyle Busch has many things on the table right now, including Kyle Busch Motorsports, finding a ride for the 2023 season, and preparing for a playoff run that could net him his third NASCAR Cup Series championship. Another thing?

More than one piece of paper. Busch has options available to him as his highly anticipated decision nears for the 2023 season.

Related: NASCAR Cup Series predictions for the 2022 playoffs

Kyle Busch talks about the latest involving his negotiations

nascar, kyle busch
Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR media day for the playoffs was on Thursday as drivers answered reporters’ questions. Busch was among the 16 drivers being interviewed and as expected, he was asked about his future.

Busch gave a comment on the question involving Toyota Racing Development’s President David Wilson saying he expected him to make a decision in the next seven to 10 days.

“I was hoping yesterday. Needs to be. Again, I’m not going to put a timeline on it, but time is ticking and there are a lot of other options and a lot of other dominoes that need to fall. Just talking amongst others, I’m the first one that needs to go.”

Kyle Busch on his neogiations for the 2023 NASCAR season

Busch acknowledged what was reported about a week ago before the final race of the regular season. The 37-year-old driver is holding up the market and once his decision happens, other deals will start to fall into place.

He was asked if returning to Joe Gibbs Racing was still an option and it was a simple “yes.”Busch has not been told the No. 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing is off the table as it remains the No. 1 goal for everyone involved.

Busch talked about how this has weighed on him as everyone expects him to be the same person.

“It is tough. I think I said it at Watkins Glen that this is one of the toughest things I’ve had to do and either dwell on or look forward to, one or the other, for the last 15 years. You don’t want to have to do this again. I’m getting too old for this. A lot more gray hair this week or this year.”

Kyle Busch on the weight of this season

It’s a difficult circumstance for Busch as he has seen ride security for a long time with Toyota. Now, that is uncertain and while he has seemed perkier in the last two weeks, there are still decisions to be made.

Busch was asked if there was more than one option available to him.

“More than one that has paper in front of me, yes.”

Kyle Busch on whether there is more than one option

That is very notable as Busch has been talking to organizations. Many teams have been rumored but it seems like the process is getting to the point where contracts are being brought to the table.

There is a lot that would go into a possible move if the current driver of the No. 18 car is no longer there in 2023. It is a trickle-down effect from the Cup Series all the way down to the lower ranks of racing.

Who could be these teams and how does Kyle Busch Motorsports affect the negotiation process?

Related: Richard Childress discusses Tyler Reddick’s departure, big praise for Kyle Busch

NASCAR: Kyle Busch talks about the impact of his Truck Series team

NASCAR: Truck Series DoorDash 250
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Busch owns a NASCAR Truck Series team named Kyle Busch Motorsports and it has been receiving support from Toyota Racing throughout its existence. This has created a new wrinkle in his negotiations.

If Busch were to stay within Toyota Racing, whether that’s Joe Gibbs Racing or 23XI Racing, it would be simple. The organization would stay with Toyota and no changes would need to be made.

However, if the 37-year-old takes his talents to Chevrolet or Ford, it would create a scenario where the manufacturer would need to work with his Truck Series team, which is not a terrible thing for them.

Busch described the process a little bit and how it has affected his own free agency compared to other drivers.

“I would say that the Truck Series option with Kyle Busch Motorsports has probably made this situation 80 to 85 percent harder than if it was just me. I would have been done by now if it was just me.”

Kyle Busch on the impact of his NASCAR Truck Series team

The process has become much harder because of his Truck Series team and the 80 to 85 percent estimate is very telling. However, there is one connection that makes sense and has been rumored for Busch.

Kaulig Racing has discussed the idea of entering the Truck Series and if they were to acquire Busch for its NASCAR Cup Series team, it would create a scenario where the organization has a direct pipeline to the lower ranks.

Busch said other manufacturers have been as receptive to the idea of Kyle Busch Motorsports as Toyota. A possible move to Kaulig Racing would end up changing the organization’s manufacturer to Chevrolet.

While is it far off, Busch’s son Brexton Busch will eventually end up in the NASCAR Truck Series if he decides to race and Kaulig Racing could be in the driver’s seat if he is an amazing young talent. That goes for any other young driver.

Kaulig Racing is getting “really close” to announcing its plans for the 2023 NASCAR season but it likely won’t come until Busch makes an announcement unless it is Busch or the moves they make have no impact on him.

All of this could end up being for nothing if Busch gets an opportunity within Toyota but it’s definitely a part of the conversations as the negotiation process continues for every party.

It is getting down to crunch time and there will only be one winner that acquires both Busch and Kyle Busch Motorsports.