As part of the Sprint Media Tour, Kyle Busch announced that he has resigned with Joe Gibbs Racing despite missing the Chase last season. The negotiations were kept quiet the whole time to minimize talk about it, however Busch admits talking to other teams.
“They were very interested and there were some very nice and lucrative deals I guess you would say that were out there to pursue,” he said. “Ultimately, what it comes down to I think is relationships and things that you’ve developed over the last five, six years here. The relationship I have with Coach (Joe) Gibbs (team owner) and J.D. (Gibbs, president), as well as the Toyota folks and the M&M’s folks and everybody – they treat me so well and it just is the decision to stay.”
With those relationships and the success they have had, some expect Busch to stay at JGR for the rest of his career. However, Busch says you can’t ever say that firmly.
“You’ve always just got to look at what’s out there and what options you have,” he said. “I did have options, which was awesome. I just felt like this was the best place for me.”
Busch says part of the reason he stayed was having Denny Hamlin as a teammate, while helping to bring Matt Kenseth into the team for 2013. With the addition of crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff, Dave Rogers and Darian Grubb, Busch sees growth within the organization and wants to be part of the future success.
There was talk that Busch may possibly look for other opportunities due to last year’s struggles – including the notable engine failures – however, Busch says you have to look beyond that.
“You look more towards the positive things and what these guys are working on here and what Toyota has been working on for us behind the scenes and what we feel like we can do moving forward to win races,” he said.
Busch was asked about the engine struggles with Toyota Racing Development, but he says he’s not worried as they’ve been working hard over the off-season.
“I felt like my engines there the last part of the season was our new engine package,” he said. “Loudon (N.H.) was our last old engine package that broke and then the whole rest of the year I ran the new engine package and developing it for 2013. We didn’t have any other engine failures. Our fuel mileage was close – maybe still not as good as we need it to be or want it to be, but I think anybody would say that.”
It was also announced that Busch will run some Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing this coming season, instead of his own team.
“The decision became a little more clear when Joe (Gibbs, owner) made it a very clear point that he wanted me to be back in his Nationwide cars,” Busch said. “He wanted me to drive his stuff and I felt like that was a positive thing for me to do – a positive thing for me to work with Adam Stevens (crew chief, NNS) and everything.”
However, he says that doesn’t remove any pressure with regards to his team as there’s work to do.
“KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) is running a full time Nationwide car this year with Parker Kligerman in the No. 77 Toyota Camry,” he said. “Then we have a full time truck with Joey Coulter and I have my part time truck that I’m going to run for approximately 10 races right now — the No. 51. There’s a lot of things still going on over there as an organization as well.”
But while running the team, Busch’s goals will stay focused on the Sprint Cup side as he says he’s here to win a championship.
“I’m not here to make a check — I’m here to work hard and I’m here to win and bring home trophies and championships is what my ultimate dream is,” he said. “I don’t know whether it’s the Lord upstairs just making me wait or what. Even if I did win one championship, I’m not done, I’m not leaving — I still want to win more. You still have that same hunger and drive to get as many as you can. It just plays out as it does sometimes. Sometimes it’s your year and sometimes it’s not your year.”