Gibbs, Busch working on extension
Joe Gibbs Racing is hoping to re-sign Kyle Busch before the end of the year.
Coach Gibbs said Saturday that his company is working on a long-term deal to secure both the M&M’s sponsorship and the driver, whose contract runs through 2013.
“We’re working really hard on that. We want to do that early so we’re not going into the last year,” Gibbs said. “M&M’s is on board, but their contract is still extended into the future. Hopefully, we get everything clarified in the next two weeks. I’m expecting everything to kind of be in place in the next two weeks. That would be a game plan for us if we could. That would be exciting.”
Monster Energy is expected to join Busch in the Nationwide Series at JGR. Kyle Busch Motorsports will continue to campaign in trucks and perhaps a NNS entry as well.
“For (Kyle), you see his spirit and everything, and for us, we’re working real hard on getting everything done long-term with us,” Gibbs said. “We’re excited about that. We just love Kyle’s attitude and the way he goes after things. He loves it. That’s what he wants to do — is race cars and trucks.
“I think he’s going to have a big year next year. He’s going to do some stuff that’s yet to be announced. But he’s going to being doing some stuff for himself and he’s going to do a bunch for us. I don’t know at what point we release all this stuff, but we kind of got it all set.”
Busch appeared extremely disappointed on Saturday when he failed to bring home a trophy from the Nationwide Series for the first time in eight seasons. While Busch posted three poles in the No. 54 Toyota, his brother Kurt Busch earned KBM’s first and only win this season.
“I think it’s been well-documented that this has been the absolute worst year of my career, bar none, whether it was racing ASA cars or late models or Legends cars or even being here in the big three, winning 20-plus races a year.” Busch said. “It’s a huge disappointment. … I mean, Cup races, sure, they’re hard to win. But the last three weeks I should have won Martinsville, I could have moved Jimmie (Johnson) out of the way, I could have dive-bombed the two of them at Texas and probably won that one, and then Phoenix I gave away because I chose the wrong lane on a restart.
“I can’t seem to put it all together when it matters, and you have to in this sport, otherwise you’ll be kind of shown the door.”
Still, Busch continued an eight-year winning streak in Cup. Despite just barely missing the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Busch, 27, has six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the past nine races.
For JGR, Gibbs is calling his 2013 Nationwide program “our biggest deal yet.” In addition to an All-Star team featuring Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, it’s likely Darrell Wallace Jr. will be featured more prominently.
“I think that will be something we release later on, but we have some great ideas for him,” Gibbs said of Wallace. “We’ve had more going on with Nationwide and with our developmental program than we’ve ever had.
“As a credit to Darrell and his dad, they’ve come up the right way. This guy is at Hickory (Speedway in NC) racing with the best Late Model guys. His dad has taken him to all the tough places. I think when we see him, because we’ve had him at tests, our crew chiefs come back and say, ‘This guy has a really bright future.’ So I think that’s a big deal for us, for him. To be truthful, I keep waiting for a sponsor to latch on to him. Somebody is going to get it right because it’s going to be a big media deal. We had a meeting (Saturday), so we’re working real hard on his future and his schedule.”