Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin's racing team is getting bigger. Over the weekend, 23XI Racing announced that Kurt Busch will join the team next season as part of an expansion to a two-car team in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series. Busch will team with Bubba Wallace, who joined the organization last year for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
"I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity," Busch said in a team release. "Racing to win is what I live for. Helping to continue developing a new team, alongside Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Toyota is exactly what I want to be part of. Winning is important to 23XI, it's important to Monster Energy, and it's important to me. That is our goal."
Busch will enter his 22nd season of Cup Series competition and is one of the best drivers on the circuit. Along with clinching his ninth consecutive berth in the Cup Series Playoffs, Busch won the 2004 Nextel Cup Series Championship, won the Daytona 500 in 2017 and has finished in the top 10 in Cup Series races 326 times.
"When we started this team, our vision was to grow to a multicar organization. To be able to expand in just our second year is a huge step for us," Hamlin said. "Kurt brings a wealth of knowledge and a championship mindset to our team, and will be able to help us grow stronger and more competitive each and every week."
Monster Energy will move with Busch next year as the primary sponsor for the No. 45 Toyota. Wallace drives the No. 23 career, and both numbers mean a lot to Jordan as he wore both numbers as a member of the Chicago Bulls.
"The conversations and negotiations and back-and-forth with everybody, it was all so crystal clear on what the agenda was and needs to be," Busch said in an interview with Racer.com. "I think that my track record is what really what kind of shines through in this process. When I raced with Furniture Row back when and then started up the car over at Stewart-Haas, it all went well. And then to have the opportunity with Ganassi and changing the aura and the demeanor and then the swagger of the No. 1 car almost instantaneously was so fulfilling."