The news that Joe Gibbs Racing will be switching to Toyota for next year has been around for a while, and with a press conference scheduled for next week, everyone has been expecting the news.
At California Speedway Kyle Busch has jumped the gun and basically confirmed that the number 18 he will be driving next year will be a Toyota.
“We were just always kept in the loop on what exactly was going to happen with that and, when they finally made their decision, they went ahead and called us,” said Busch,
Asked what that call was, Busch replied, “That they were going with Toyota.”
Busch said he’s “pretty much OK with” the move.
“It’s something more so that crew chiefs, the engineers and all those guys need to approve on,” Busch said. “Us drivers, it doesn’t matter what we’re driving.”
Busch said he talked to Mark Cronquist, the head engine builder at Gibbs, about Toyota engines as Busch was considering where he would be going after leaving Hendrick Motorsports this year.
“They brought Mark in because I had a bunch of questions about the motor stuff,” Busch said. “You know (Toyota’s) got a lot of questions in that area with the motors because they’ve got, supposedly, the top-end power, but they don’t have the bottom end and stuff like that.
“Mark alluded to me that they feel like their package that they have in the Chevrolet engines, especially with the new R-7 stuff, that they can translate that into the Toyota stuff and, hopefully, have a pretty good piece come January.”
This is all very interesting stuff, and seems very strange that Kyle Busch has told the world that the Gibbs cars will be running Toyotas next year. Normally it’s the team that will make these announcements, and it seems very odd that Kyle Busch has stepped in with these comments at this point. We know Busch can be outspoken at times, but this takes it to a whole other level, and takes the meaning of the official press conference this week away.
Unless this is an intentional move by Gibbs to leak the news in a very direct way, expect to see some sort of censure of Kyle Busch by his new team, and it could even possibly be the end of Kyle Busch at Gibbs racing, before their partnership even gets started. Lets see what happens in the next couple of days.