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Kurt Busch joins Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing team for 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season in new No. 45 Toyota

When it first hit the observe earlier this yr at Daytona, 23XI Racing entered the NASCAR Cup Collection because the most-hyped and ballyhooed new staff in inventory automotive racing in a few years. Come the Daytona 500 subsequent yr, there can be double the anticipation for the race staff co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, as they’ve added a second automotive to their secure.

On Friday, 23XI Racing introduced that the staff employed Kurt Busch to drive a second automotive, the No. 45 Toyota in 2022, with sponsorship from Monster Vitality. Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Collection Champion, will turn into a teammate to Bubba Wallace within the No. 23 automotive.

Busch’s transfer to 23XI Racing was an anticipated one, as it had been reported as early as May that he was the highest candidate to drive a second automotive for the staff. As of the preliminary press launch, it’s unsure whether or not or not 23XI Racing has obtained a constitution for the newly-christened No. 45 staff.

“I can not start to specific my gratitude for this chance,” Busch mentioned in a press release issued by the team. “Racing to win is what I dwell for. Serving to to proceed creating a brand new staff, alongside Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Toyota is strictly what I wish to be a part of. Profitable is essential to 23XI, it is essential to Monster Vitality, and it is essential to me. That is our objective.”

Just like the No. 23 that adorns Wallace’s automotive, the No. 45 used on Busch’s automotive is a callback to the incomparable NBA profession of Michael Jordan. Jordan wore the No. 45 when he re-joined the Chicago Bulls popping out of retirement in 1995, and it has remained part of his model within the years which have adopted since.

Jordan’s use of the No. 45 in NASCAR got here with the blessing of the Petty household, because the quantity had not been utilized in Cup competitors since 2008. The No. 45 had belonged to Adam Petty, the grandson of Richard Petty, who was slated to maneuver to the Cup Collection full-time beginning in 2001. In Could of 2000, Adam tragically died in a observe crash at New Hampshire at solely 19 years outdated, and his father Kyle would use his son’s quantity for the remainder of his personal profession.

“The quantity 45 is a particular quantity to myself and your entire Petty household. We look ahead to seeing that quantity again on the race observe contending for race wins and championships,” read a statement by Kyle Petty. “Seeing the quantity compete once more, underneath the 23XI Racing banner, with Kurt behind the wheel, is thrilling for us.

“Whereas the quantity will all the time maintain many recollections of Adam, we all know Kurt, Denny (Hamlin) and your entire group will signify it nicely.”

Becoming a member of 23XI Racing will mark a brand new chapter within the persevering with Cup profession of Kurt Busch, as he’ll compete in his twenty second full season in 2022. The elder of the Busch brothers brings a wealth of veteran knowledge and expertise to 23XI, as he’s a earlier Cup Champion and has 33 profession wins together with the 2017 Daytona 500.

A 23XI press launch said that staff personnel and extra companions for the No. 45 staff can be introduced at a later date.

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