Kurt Busch announces retirement from NASCAR Cup competition

Kurt Busch announced Saturday that he is retiring from NASCAR Cup Series competition.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kurt Busch, whose talent was unquestioned and who emerged as a sage veteran, announced Saturday that he is retiring from NASCAR Cup Series competition.

The 45-year-old made the announcement in a video posted on social media Saturday afternoon.

“Racing requires 100 percent of focus, heart, stamina and determination, and I’ve never raced a day without all of that in mind,” Busch said in the video. “But sometimes father time can catch up to your dreams. My incredible team of doctors and I have come to the conclusion that at this point in my recovery there are just too many obstacles for me to overcome and get back to 100 percent.
“So, after 23 years behind the wheel and 45 years of living and breathing this dream, I’m officially announcing my retirement from NASCAR Cup Series competition.”

Among those who attended Busch’s press conference in the Daytona media center were NASCAR executives Jim France, Ben Kennedy, Mike Helton, Steve O’Donnell, members of 23XI Racing, Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch. The Busch brothers hugged as Kurt left the room after the press conference.

As for what’s next for Busch?

“It’s difficult to know which avenues will lead to what here in the short term future,” he said. “Still wanting to get doctor approval and to get cleared, that’s the first step. That’s what I need to do personally and then we’ll have opportunities to talk to different motorsports teams and different sponsors and doing other races.
“The perspective and taking a little step back from being in the car every week, the most joy I’ve found is that everything has slowed down for me, to help analyze the data, to give advice to Bubba and to give advice to Tyler, the engineering staff, the teams of 23XI Racing.”

Busch, a future Hall of Famer, announced last October at Las Vegas that he was stepping away from full-time racing as he continued to recover from a concussion suffered in July 2022. But that day he didn’t say retire.

Busch won the 2004 Cup championship. He also won 34 career Cup races, including the 2017 Daytona 500. Busch was one of the final active drivers who competed against Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Busch’s talent allowed him to move quickly to Cup. He went from the Truck Series to Cup in 2000, running seven Cup races.

He moved to Cup full-time in 2001 and ran until the middle of the 2022 season. Busch suffered his concussion in a crash in qualifying at Pocono last year and continues to recover from that incident.

Busch won a race in 19 of the 22 Cup seasons he was a full-time driver. He scored 161 top fives and 339 top 10s in 776 career Cup starts. He ranks 12th on the all-time career Cup start list.

Dustin Long