Notes: Kyle Busch To Begin ‘Next Chapter’ With A Bit of Style

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, December 10 2022

Kyle Busch will move from the 18 car to the 8 car in 2023. (File photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Kyle Busch will truly be stylin’ in his debut NASCAR Cup Series ride with Richard Childress Racing.

RCR has introduced the stylized No. 8 that will identify the two-time Cup champion’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2023. The revamped/stylized No. 8 was personally designed by “Rowdy” and his team with input from team-owner Childress and RCR.

The revised number honors its past while announcing the presence Busch brings to the 54-year-old organization. The merger of one of NASCAR’s most storied teams with one of the sports’ most successful drivers of the Modern Era was announced on Sept. 13.

The winner of 60 Cup races, Busch is the only active multi-time champion. Busch, who has more than 220 career wins across NASCAR’s three national touring series, will be paired with crew chief Randall Burnett.

“RCR has an impressive history in NASCAR and I’m honored that Richard is putting his trust in me to come in and continue to build on that legacy,” said Busch, 37, Cup champ in 2015 and 2019 with Joe Gibbs Racing. “Growing up in a family of passionate racers myself, I feel like the culture that the Childress family has built within their organization will be an ideal fit for me.

“As I begin the next chapter of my career, I’m looking forward to driving for RCR and working with everyone there to add more wins and championships to both of our resumes.”

Busch began his Cup career driving Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports. Busch has joined RCR, the Chevrolet Racing organization linked to seven-time Cup champ Dale Earnhardt, after a successful tenure with JGR and Toyota Racing Development. Key members of the No. 8 team that worked most recently with Tyler Reddick, including crew chief Randall Burnett and spotter Derek Kneeland, will return to their roles next season. In addition, the team’s multi-sponsorship lineup _ led by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen _ will be similar.

The 8 that will adorn Kyle Busch’s Richard Childress Racing car in 2023.

“Our business relationships are paramount to our organization and we’re proud to confirm that our primary partners on the No. 8 team will be returning to RCR in 2023,” said Torrey Galida, president of RCR. “Their commitment to our organization is a testament to our team’s collaborative approach and the value it has delivered to so many great brands.”

Incorporated in 1969, RCR has celebrated over 50 years of racing by earning more than 200 victories and 16 championships, including six in the Cup Series with the legendary Earnhardt. Located in Welcome, N.C., RCR was the first organization to win championships in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck series. RCR also is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1998, 2007, 2018).

The organization’s 2023 Cup lineup features Busch (No. 8 Chevrolet) and 2017 Coca-Cola 600 winner and 2018 Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet). RCR also fields a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series program with Sheldon Creed (No. 2 Chevrolet) and Austin Hill (No. 21 Chevrolet).


The talent pool at Joe Gibbs Racing got deeper Thursday with confirmation that John Hunter Nemechek will run the full NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule and compete for a championship with the organization in 2023. Nemechek will wheel the No. 20 Toyota GR Supra in its return to JGR and NXS after a one-year hiatus.

Nemechek, 25, ran the full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule in 2022 in a Toyota Tundra fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. Nemechek won two races and posted seven poles while advancing to the Round of 8 during the NASCAR Playoffs. Nemechek was the Truck Series regular-season champion in 2021.

A Toyota Development Driver, Nemechek has made more than 250 starts in NASCAR’s three national touring series. His resume includes 13 Truck Series victories, two NXS wins and a full season in the Cup Series. Nemechek’s Xfinity history with JGR is highlighted by a victory at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in 2021. He also ran three races behind the wheel of the No. 18 in 2022 with a best finish of second at Richmond Raceway.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity to get back to competing fulltime in the Xfinity Series,” Nemechek said in a team release. “JGR is a group I know I can win with after getting that win at Texas in 2021.”

Ben Beshore will serve as crew chief on the No. 20, with Mobil 1 signing-on as primary sponsor for the season.

“John Hunter has shown the dedication it takes to be a successful race car driver,” said Steve DeSouza, executive vice president, Xfinity Series and Driver Development. “He has experience at all levels of NASCAR that will be valuable to the team in 2023.”

Toyota has won four Xfinity driver’s championships including the last two _ Ty Gibbs (2022), Daniel Hemric (2021) _ as well as Daniel Suárez (2016) and Kyle Busch (2009).

Joe Gibbs Racing will head into the 2023 season with four NASCAR Cup Series teams, three NASCAR Xfinity Series teams and a driver development program. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gibbs, JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992. JGR has won five Cup championships and six Xfinity owner’s championships, along with more than 350 NASCAR races, including four Brickyard 400s and four Daytona 500s.

Joe Gibbs also is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was selected as one of the NFL’s top-10 coaches after a career that included three Super Bowl Championships as head coach of the Washington franchise.


Ryan Truex will run six NASCAR Xfinity Series races in the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023.

Truex drove in five races for JGR in 2022, finishing in the top-five in three of those events. His best finish was a third-place run at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Truex previously competed in 13 NXS races with JGR in 2011 and 2012.  Truex has over 175 starts across NASCAR’s three national touring series, combining for 17 top-five finishes and 49 top-10 results.  

“I’m thrilled to be behind the wheel of the No. 19 for a few races next season,” Truex said. “It was fun to run well with the team this past year. I appreciate the opportunity to race for JGR next year. I think we can build from what we learned this year and get some solid runs in.” 

Jason Ratcliff will work with Truex as crew chief of the No. 19 Toyota during a schedule that has yet to be determined.


Toyota Racing Development will support five fulltime NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers in Toyota GR Supras in 2023, an increase of one from 2022.

TRD is partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing and Sam Hunt Racing. Toyota has backed JGR since 2008 and officially joined SHR for its first fulltime season in 2021. While there is no official alliance between JGR and SHR, the latter will continue to compete with JGR engines.

JGR will field the No. 18 for Sammy Smith and crew chief Jeff Meendering; the No. 19 for Ryan Truex (and a driver lineup TBD) with crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the No. 20 with John Hunter Nemechek and crew chief Ben Beshore.

SHR will field Connor Mosack for 20 races (and others TBD) in the No. 24 with crew chief Kris Bowen and Kaz Grala in the No. 26 with crew chief Allen Hart.

“It pleases us to see two of our Toyota Development Drivers _ Sammy Smith and John Hunter Nemechek _ continue their racing careers with Toyota in incredibly strong equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing,” TRD President David Wilson said.  “Everyone at Toyota Racing Development also couldn’t be more excited to see the continued growth of Sam Hunt Racing. We are very proud of Sam and the work he has put into his organization, and we look forward to supporting their efforts as the team competes for its first Playoff berth.”


Kyle Busch Motorsports has appointed Jimmy Villeneuve as crew chief for Chase Purdy and the No. 4 Chevrolet team that will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023.

Villeneuve has served as a truck chief since 2017 at KBM, where he has been a part of 18 wins, a driver’s championship with Christopher Bell in 2017 and the 2019 owner’s championship with the No. 51 team.

“Jimmy has been an instrumental part of the success we have had at KBM in recent years, winning a lot of races and a couple of championships as a truck chief,” Busch said. “We feel like he’s well-deserving of the opportunity to be promoted to crew chief. He’s learned the ‘KBM Way’ under Eric (Phillips) and Rudy (Fugle) and being able to promote someone from within the organization to lead Chase and the No. 4 team will allow them to come out of the gates strong to start the 2023 season. It also shows the quality of people we have working at KBM throughout the building in every position and that hard work and dedication within our company will be rewarded.”

Prior to joining KBM the New Hampshire native served as a truck chief at Athenian Motorsports in 2015 when the team won with John Wes Townley, and was promoted to crew chief five races into the 2016 season.

“I’m honored that Kyle has chosen to elevate me to the crew chief position and I’m going to do everything that I can to prove that it was the right decision,” Villeneuve said. “We’ve got a close-knit group of guys on the No. 4 team that are working hard to make sure that we come out of the gates strong to start the 2023 season. Chase has been at the shop pretty much every day, so we’re already getting acclimated to him as a person and making things comfortable for him inside the truck so when the season starts we can unload with fast Silverados each week.”

Since its debut in 2010, KBM has established itself as one of the most successful teams in NASCAR. Located in Mooresville, N.C., the organization owns Craftsman Truck Series records for most career wins (98) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to a series-record seven owner’s championships, KBM has produced two championship-winning drivers _ Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017). Both are currently Cup Series regulars.


Construction on the quarter-mile, asphalt track for the second annual Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum is booked for Thursday, Dec. 15, in Los Angeles. Kyle Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion with Hendrick Motorsports, will join NASCAR and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum executives for a groundbreaking ceremony in the kickoff to the non-point event.

Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Rick Hendrick, will be joined by Patrick Rogers, vice president, NASCAR Marketing Services; Jeremy Casperson, NASCAR Design & Development and Kevin Daly, assistant GM, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season officially will begin on Sunday, Feb. 5, with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. The race is a feature of the historic venue’s “Coliseum Forever” festivities celebrating its centennial anniversary.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, December 10 2022
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