Indianapolis – Kyle Bush He kicked off Saturday by joining previous winners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a class photo in the brick arena.
He was sitting next to Arie Luyendyk and in front of him Marcus EricssonAnd the Alexander Rossi And the Helio Castroneves – A combined eight Indianapolis 500 titles surround the only active NASCAR driver with multiple Cup championships.
However, Busch still does not have a contract for next season. His longtime sponsor withdraws from NASCAR at the end of the season, and if Joe Gibbs Racing doesn’t find a good replacement for M&M’s and Mars Inc. , Busch will have to find a job elsewhere.
It’s an unfathomable predicament for Bush, the 2015 and 2019 NASCAR Champion and 60 Career Cup winner, with all but four race wins since he joined JGR in 2008. He wants to stay at the #18 Toyota, but the clock is ticking.
“It’s going to be like Dale Earnhardt in 1998, three or four years after he won the last championship, being in the free-agent market and not having a tour. That sounds crazy,” Bush said. “I don’t know what to do, how to fix that.”
Despite his credentials, Bush knows he will have to cut his salary. The motorsports business model is based on corporate finance, and the market is fundamentally different from what it was when he signed his first deal with Gibbs in 2007 and even when he signed his last extension in 2019.
“You’re talking about what you want,” Bush said, “and I think you’re implying that I’m asking for a salary or something, and you’ve already admitted that I’m willing to compromise.” “I feel like the market is different than it was years ago, and I’m ready to race for less than my market value.
“You have to have sponsorship in this sport to move forward. It’s not that simple to be a basketball player and to be Michael Jordan or… LeBron James And being a really good player and then the team lost a sponsor and then said, “Well, Michael, LeBron, we have to let you go. We can’t afford you.”
Busch admitted the pressure has led to “a lot of sleepless nights” as NASCAR heads into Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR will race the road track for the second year in a row; Bosch finished 20th last year but won the Brickyard 400 in a row over the Oval in 2015 and 2016.
He has scored one win this season and is eligible for the final. But his current team shook when Denny Hamlin And Busch were stripped of their 1-2 finish on Sunday at Pocono Raceway because Toyotas failed the inspection — an escalation because the series won’t tolerate any bullshit with its new, next-generation car.
“It’s overrated for what it was, but I get the process for the car and make sure the example is there,” Bush said of the suspension.
Usually bold and outspoken, Busch has been more muted on this and almost all topics because he’s clearly worried about what’s next in his racing career.
He said he talks to teams all over the NASCAR garage and can’t even keep all the conversations straight. He knows he has the skills to walk away from full-time NASCAR racing and craft a schedule for bucket list races across multiple series, but it will likely be an option of last resort.
Bush wants to reserve his seat at Gibbs, end of story.
“My number one goal is to be at Joe Gibbs Racing and to be with Toyota and it doesn’t make any difference,” Bosch said. “If the musical chairs stop and I’m still standing and I don’t have a seat, I’m agitated. So I have to keep talking, assess every place and every situation and find something.”
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