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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Toyota exec makes opinion clear on Kyle Busch contract situation

Kyle Busch in a hat

Jul 23, 2022; Long Pond, Pennsylvania, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch walks on pit road during practice and qualifying for the M&Ms Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Busch’s contract situation remains unresolved, but there are no questions about where Toyota stands on the matter.

Busch signed a 2-year contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019. The deal is set to expire after this season, which would leave the driver of the No. 18 Toyota as a free agent. Busch has been with JGR since 2008, so there is some desire from both sides to extend the relationship. If the decision were up to Toyota, Busch would return to JGR without a question.

Toyota executive David Wilson, the president of Toyota Racing Development, spoke with the media at Daytona on Saturday. He made it very clear that Toyota wants Busch to remain with JGR and continue driving the No. 18 car.

“Kyle Busch is our 60 home-run hitter,” Wilson said, via NASCAR.com. “And we’d be foolish not to put everything in play to keep them in the family. And that’s what we continue to do.”

Wilson said that as a manufacturer, Toyota does have some role in Busch’s situation.

“We have a role. Manufacturers play a role. Toyota has a role within the garage,” Wilson said. “We don’t own drivers, we don’t own racing teams. So within the bounds, within a reasonable balance of a manufacturer in the sport, we’re doing what we can to try and keep Kyle in our family. Hey, this is not just an offensive consideration. I don’t want to race against a pissed-off Kyle Busch, and wherever he lands, he’s gonna do some damage. But, you know, as I’ve said before … it’s been a lot of heavy lifting. And that hasn’t changed.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently hinted at some positive contract news for Busch being imminent. So far, nothing has been announced.

Busch is 13th in the Cup Series playoff standings entering the final race of the regular season.

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