By Jonathan Howard - February 19, 2022
The big day is just a day away and Outsider’s The Marty Smith Podcast is down in Florida. The guys had a chance to catch up with Kurt Busch, a Daytona 500 champ himself.
Are we a bit jealous of Marty and Wes down there in Daytona? A bit. Are we envious that they are wearing short sleeves and sunglasses while it looks like temperatures further north are going to stay just above freezing for the foreseeable future… absolutely! However, it does mean that they get to bring us and all of you Outsiders some great content from the epicenter of racing.
That includes a great conversation with Kurt Busch. The newest addition to Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s 23XI racing team, Kurt Busch and Daytona are set to clash. He is ready to get things started with some good results. He joins Bubba Wallace as the only two drivers on the team.
While speaking with Marty and Wes, Busch talked about winning Daytona and what the 500 can do for a driver’s career. He had won the Cup Series in 2004 as a young driver. However, it wasn’t until 2017 when he took home the title of Daytona 500 champion. That changed everything.
“It’s an incredible moment because it’s a life-changing moment. And to have that title kind of bookended with that championship I got early in my career, it felt like the whole cup was full. Now everything I do is the whipped cream and cherry on top. That’s how big this race felt when I won it. And to do it in Monster’s first race with the entitlement sponsorship that year… all the CEOs were there, there was like 40 Monster girls, Gronk was here…”
Kurt Busch, Daytona 500, and Taking the Cherries on Top
Kurt Busch, Daytona champ in 2017. Been there, done that. He has a new team. Next Gen cars are here to stay. And, it seems that he has a lot less pressure on his shoulders. When everything is extra on top, then the pressures that face younger, unproven drivers don’t creep in. Right now, Busch can focus on his new team, making the playoffs, and perhaps bringing his new teammate along with him.
When the field was set following the Duels, Wallace and Busch were slated 16 and 17, respectively. So, this could be a race that sees these two work together and move up along the 200 laps, 500 miles. Or, perhaps they will fall victim to the chaos that usually plagues this race. Last season, there was a big wreck that made the way for Michael McDowell to take the win.
With a new look on his career, and a new team is this going to be a big year for the No.45? It very well could be. Kurt Busch, Daytona, 23XI Racing… is this a recipe for success? It very well could be. Just one day away until we find out.