Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kyle Busch Motorsports to the Cup Series?

Could Kyle Busch Motorsports make the jump up to the NASCAR Cup Series? There is a theory out there in rumorville that says it can.

While this is pure speculation, it is an interesting theory and peaked my interest. A user in the NASCAR Reddit community put this out there, and claims to have a source in the garage area. To reiterate, this is not fact at this time, but simply something to think about during this busy silly season.

Here is what we already widely know.

A few days ago, news about the possible departure of Kurt Busch from Stewart Hass Racing emerged as well as rumblings about the possible shutdown of Furniture Row Racing after sponsor 5 Hour Energy announced that they would be leaving at the end of the season.

For Kurt, the popular rumor at present is that he leaves SHR, and takes sponsor Monster Energy to Chip Ganassi Racing, supplanting Jamie McMurray in the number 1 car.

Martin Truex Jr.’s deal is more up in the air. He said during media availability this week that he is unsure of his status with Furniture Row Racing, stating that sponsorship was the key. Meanwhile, FRR owner Barney Visser issued a statement saying that the team would in fact be in business for 2019. However, as the conclusion of the season draws near, Truex, the 2017 Cup Series Champion, remains unsigned for next year.

A possible spot for Truex to land would be the number 95 car at Leavine Family Racing, after the departure of Kasey Kahne who announced his retirement following the season. Leavine has announced that they are moving away from Chevy next year and are highly thought to be going to Toyota. This keeps Truex in the Toyota camp.

But Truex isn’t the only driver that could be on the way to LFR. Joe Gibbs Racing is yet again in a situation where they have more drivers in their stable than they have cars to fill. Many in the garage have begun trying to see where Christopher Bell could fit in the Cup roster in 2019. One thought is as a potential candidate for the LFR 95 car. This is unlikely, however, as Bell told the media that he will continue to drive for JGR in the Xfinity Series next season.

Now that you have the current known rumors, let’s start venturing out a bit with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

The KBM rumor sees Kyle Busch leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and starting a new Cup team under the KBM banner alongside brother Kurt. Did I forget to mention that this is technically a contract year for Kyle? It is, and while a re-signing is still the most plausible scenario, it makes this theory possible.

Such a move wouldn’t be the first time the brothers have raced under the same banner in NASCAR. In 2012, KBM fielded a full time entry in the Nationwide Series that both Kyle and Kurt shared, with Kurt garnering a victory for the team at Richmond. The KBM Nationwide Series effort proved to not be the success that either Busch was searching for, plus there was strong rumor that Joe Gibbs was very unhappy having Kyle competing against him at that time. This led to KBM dissolving their Nationwide program. Granted, for this theory to work, Joe Gibbs would need to be onboard with having KBM competing against him, but in this grand era of technical alliances, this doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Speaking of alliances, we got alliances. Should Furniture Row Racing fold, we could see that alliance move over to Kyle Busch Motorsports and perhaps an additional deal with Leavine Family Racing for Christopher Bell.

With Kyle driving for his own team, under this scenario we could see Martin Truex going to the 18 car with Joe Gibbs.

Charters? We got charters. Under this scenario KBM would pick up the charter from Furniture Row, and possibly a second from the sale of BK Racing.

Sponsors? We got sponsors. This rumors sees Monster Energy coming over with Kurt from Stewart Hass, and Kyle seeing a larger participation from the partnerships he as already formed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Off base? Probably. Like I said from the start, this is purely speculation; a complete what if scenario. ESPN’s Bob Pockrass reported on his Twitter account that that KBM is not going Cup racing.

“Talked to a person in the know last night and was told KBM not going Cup racing,” tweeted Pockrass.

While unlikely, I hope this theory gets folks talking about the addition of Kyle Busch Motorsports into the Cup Series. Having KBM as a mainstay in the Truck Series has been a huge positive mark to the sport; just look at all the talent that has passed through that team and ended up in Cup; Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace come to mind.

The NASCAR Cup Series needs more teams, and needs them now. With field sizes dwindling, it’s imperative that new owners enter the top tier series. I’m not stating this as a fan of any particular team either. I’d love to see ThorSport make an entrance, or JR Motorsports. There are plenty of teams out there, just not many opportunities for those teams to get to the top step. Of the possible teams that could make that step, however, Kyle Busch Motorsports seems poised to be the most viable.

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