Kurt Busch retires from NASCAR

Kurt Busch retires from NASCAR

Kurt Busch announced his retirement from NASCAR Cup racing on Saturday after 45 years and 23 years of racing.

Kurt Busch has completed the NASCAR Cup Series chapter of his career, which lasted 23 years and was highly decorated. He made the announcement of his retirement on Saturday via a video shared on social media, citing that he has not yet fully recovered from the concussion that ended his full-time career in 2022.

Busch had always intended to hang up his racing boots at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign, but a concussion he sustained in a qualifying lap incident at Pocono Raceway has forced him to retire a year earlier.

“Dreams: we all have them. Those beautiful things that scare us and excite us and drive us forward,” began the video. “Sometimes, dreams change all the time, and sometimes, they take a lifetime to achieve.

“But me, I only ever had one dream, and I chased mine with 100 percent of who I am every single day. Racing at NASCAR’s highest level was always my dream.

“Just ask the blue-collared kid from Las Vegas who only ever wanted a shot. I’ve spent twenty-three years living my dream and it’s been a hell of a ride for that kid from Nevada.

“There were crashes, big emotions, and big wins over time, and chapters full of blessings that I will never take for granted.

“To the people who are woven into the moments of my dream, thank you for riding with me. My friends, crew members, my sponsors, and most of all, my family.

“Racing requires 100 percent of focus, heart, stamina, and determination, and I’ve never raced a day without all of that in mind.

Busch stressed that he’s still not at 100 percent but didn’t completely rule out returning to racing. His medical condition gets worse when his heart rate is elevated.

“But sometimes, Father Time can catch up to your dreams. My incredible team of doctors and I have come to the conclusion that at this point in my recovery, there are just too many obstacles for me to overcome and get back to 100 percent.

“After twenty-three years behind the wheel and forty-five years of living and breathing this dream, I am officially announcing my retirement form NASCAR Cup Series competition.

“To the fans, to my sponsors, to my family, and to the million moments that made my dream come true: thank you. And may we all remember dreams really can come true.”

Busch’s younger brother Kyle Busch, 23XI Racing drivers and teammates Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick, as well as representatives from Toyota and NASCAR, attended his press conference.

In 2000, Busch, who was at the time ridiculously young(21), moved up from the Craftsman Truck Series to the Cup Series. His driving style and attitude both on and off the track quickly earned him the reputation of being one of the sport’s most polarizing drivers.

Busch won the title in 2004, but before the 2005 season had even begun, he lost his ride with what is currently RFK Racing. He later became an experienced driver and earned the moniker “The Outlaw,” as his career approached rocky and somewhat controversial watersas his time with Team Penske featured ups and downs in performance and more turmoil.

After joining Stewart-Haas Racing, he eventually got back on his feet and regained his form to win the 2017 Daytona 500. Busch made the name for himself as he entered his late thirties and early forties and went on to become one of NASCAR’s most iconic drivers, eventually driving for Chip Ganassi Racing and 23XI Racing.

He was one of the few drivers to have reached Cup Victory Lane with each current manufacturer (Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota; he also won with Dodge) at the time of his career-ending crash at Pocono last year. He had thirty-four wins in 776 career starts at the time of the crash, the last of which came at Kansas during that campaign.

Busch gave up full-time racing in the #45 23XI Toyota for the 2023 season, although he left the door open for a potential comeback. Tyler Reddick took his spot.

Although Busch was never able to go back in the driver’s seat, he has continued to be engaged with the team and sport ever since as a Monster Energy ambassador, advisor to 23XI, and a commentator for FOX Sports broadcasts.

Busch was in the broadcast booth in March when Reddick triumphed in his debut race with the squad at COTA. His professional accomplishments earned him a spot on NASCAR’s list of the 75 Greatest Drivers, which was compiled to mark the organization’s diamond anniversary.

He is one of forty drivers who have triumphed in all three national divisions, and in 2014, he was even named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

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