Kurt Busch will start his 22nd Cup Series season (21st full-time) on Sunday with the Daytona 500. His goal is to win and reach the playoffs again, but Busch is spending the time before the green flag waving fueling rumors about his future in the sport. He released a video on Friday that heavily discusses retirement.
The nine-minute clip, "Shifting Gears," starts with Fox Sports' announcer Michael Waltrip "breaking the news" that Busch will retire at the end of the 2021 season. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver takes in the clip while drinking Monster Energy at a bar in Marathon, Florida, before climbing into his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro. Busch spends the rest of the video looking back on the biggest moments of his career while driving to Key West at high speeds.
Busch's video features a heavy dose of cameos. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski tells the NASCAR driver not to retire since he is "at the top of his game." Vanilla Ice also shows up and flirts with two women at a stoplight. Even Monster Energy athletes Axell Hodges and Taka Higashino do motocross tricks on a bridge.
"Is retirement for me? Am I ready to retire? I won it all. I've done it all," Busch says in the video. "I'm so very satisfied." Near the end of the video, Busch flies off into the sunset in a private jet while saying that to "put a stamp on it. I'm out."
Prior to Sunday's race, Busch provided more information about the heavily-scrutinized video. He told the Associated Press that he isn't making any definitive statements about his future in NASCAR. "If you're asking me if this is a retirement video, I'm leaving it open for interpretation," Busch said on Saturday. "There's subliminal messaging everywhere. It's a reflection of my career, of winning."
Busch told AP that he collaborated with primary sponsor Monster Energy to put the nine-minute clip together that featured several cameos. They worked with Florida tourism bureaus in order to make some of the scenes. Specifically, the crew had to shut down bridges so Busch could drive more than 200 mph on the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.
"Who gets to go and take a NASCAR car to Key West at 200 mph," Busch asked. "I was told the budget and then I chipped in to get a quality engine from Hendrick. Ganassi put the car together for me." Busch used this car to do burnouts next to Vanilla Ice, drive much faster than the posted speed limit on the way to Key West, and entertain fans in the streets.
Busch spent the past two seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing, but his contract expires at the end of the season. With 32 victories to his name, including a win in the Daytona 500 and a Cup Series championship, Busch has achieved a considerable amount in his career. He could ultimately walk away at the end of the season, but the veteran driver told AP that he is talking with Monster Energy and Chevrolet.