Gibbs made the comments on July 17 after another Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Christopher Bell, won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He explained that the team has been putting in an effort to get a deal done. Gibbs also clarified that this has not been an easy process.
“It’s been hard. We’re working really hard to try and get things done, and it is hard, though,” Gibbs said after the Cup Series race. “You’ve got to put a lot in place to make things work out, and we’re working as hard as we can. We’re going after it a number of different directions. So yeah, I’m surprised at this point that we haven’t been able to get that finished.”
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Busch Provided a New Detail at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The team has been unable to get a new deal done for Busch, and his status remains a question mark heading toward the playoffs. The conversation also took an interesting turn during the trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Busch provided a new detail.
The two-time Cup Series champion met with reporters at the track and provided an update. He said that there is no firm deadline for securing a new contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. He also revealed that he had talked to some other teams.
Despite the uncertainty and the revelation that he has talked to some others, Busch made one thing clear. He currently expects to be the driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry.
“I mean, it would be nice sooner than later, but honestly, it doesn’t matter how soon or how late it gets done,” Busch said. “Until there’s an announcement that somebody else is driving the 18 car, then I feel like I still have a seat.”
JGR Previously Expressed Intentions to Keep Busch
While Gibbs expressed surprise that they haven’t locked up Busch for another season, the team remains steadfast in its belief that there won’t be any changes on the No. 18 team. JGR president Dave Alpern said as much early in July.
“We’ve been pretty consistent since the end of last season, which is we want Kyle to be in the [No.] 18 car and that’s our plan,” Alpern said. “We’re still working on sponsorship, and as much interest as there is in our sport, these take a long time. And admittedly, this one’s taking a little longer than we thought.
“It’s not for lack of interest. It’s just trying to get everything put together. So those will probably happen in parallel. And, again, we’re hoping to get something decided here in the very near future.”
Alpern provided some context about the delay prior to the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He explained that the team needed to find the right fit for Busch and the No. 18 team. They didn’t want to simply sign any sponsor and slap a logo on the stock car.