Monday, December 5, 2022

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch reflects on the “end of an era.”

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The Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway marked the end of Kyle Busch’s time with Joe Gibbs Racing. This was an important moment in his career and he reflected on it by celebrating his greatest moments.

Busch posted a collage of photos on his social media profiles ahead of the Cup Series finale at Phoenix Raceway. There were pictures of him holding up the championship trophy, celebrating victories with his family, doing burnouts and earning his 200th win in the three national series.

“The end of an era,” Busch wrote in his post. “Thank you to Coach, everyone at JGR, the Mars family and Norm Miller. Things will look a little different next year but I will always be grateful for what we have achieved in the relationships we have built over the past 15 years.

“It’s been a long road and I owe a lot of my success to @toyotaracing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support over the years. You will always be family to me, but I look forward to seeing you in my review next year in Daytona. Thank you #RowdyNation for being with me over the years, especially this year, but I hope you’re ready to be even more rowdy in the years to come.”

The race at Phoenix Raceway was Busch’s last for Joe Gibbs Racing. It was his 35th in the Cup Series and it offered him another opportunity to add to his historic resume, which includes two championships and more than 200 wins across the three national series.

Busch’s time at Phoenix Raceway has resulted in 24 top 10 finishes, 12 top 5 finishes and three drives to victory lane. He first won in the 2005 season driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Then in 2018 he returned with Joe Gibbs Racing. This win helped him reach championship four.

Busch’s third win at Phoenix Raceway came in the 2019 season. He conquered the spring race to redeem his ticket to the playoffs. He then went on to win a total of five races before winning the second Cup Series championship of his career.

Busch’s last race with JGR was a relatively quiet affair. He started 22nd overall and finished the first two stages outside the top 10. However, he finished the day by finishing in the top 10 and finishing seventh overall in the special program honoring fans.

The journey to Phoenix Raceway was not easy for Busch. He made his way to the one mile course, processing the emotions of leaving the team that had been his home for 15 years and the biggest sponsor of his career.

The emotions were palpable before and after the race. Busch told reporters after stepping out of the number 18 for the final time that he was unable to look at the production car wrapped in thousands of photos of his fans. He also choked after watching it for the last time during his post-race interview.

“It’s hard, man. It is not easy,” Busch said in a video captured by Frontstretch. “I wish it wasn’t what it is, but I will miss a lot of our fun people we’ve spent a lot of time with over the years. Look forward to new adventures.”

Busch will deal with the emotions of leaving JGR. He will also be preparing for the new challenge of joining Richard Childress Racing and taking charge of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro.

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