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Kurt Busch officially announces NASCAR retirement

Kurt Busch has officially announced that he has retired from NASCAR Cup Series competition.

Busch, 45, started 776 NASCAR Cup Series races during his remarkable career.

Between 2000 and 2022, he earned 28 poles and 34 race wins with five different race teams. Among his many triumphs are victories in the 2017 Daytona 500, as well as the Coke 600 and All-Star Race in 2010. He also led over 10,000 laps.

Busch became a NASCAR Cup champion in 2004, which was the first year with a playoff format. He had to beat NASCAR Hall of Famers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon in a dramatic finale that saw him lose a wheel mid-race.

2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch celebrates

2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch celebrates

Photo by: Autostock

His 34th and final victory came at Kansas Speedway in May of last year. Unfortunately, a crash in qualifying at Pocono Raceway just two months later forced him out of the race car.

He suffered a concussion and despite his best efforts, was never able to return. Last fall, he announced that he would not return as a full-time driver but there was still hope that he could be back in select starts. 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin left the door open for Busch to drive for the team again.

Tyler Reddick replaced him behind the wheel of the No. 45 Toyota, and an emotional Busch was part of the COTA broadcast when Reddick earned his victory since joining the organization. 

Busch has remained close to the action, mentoring both Reddick and Bubba Wallace, while also serving as a brand ambassador for Monster Energy.

Earlier this year, he was named as one NASCAR's 75 Greatest Drivers and was among those honored at Darlington Raceway.

Race winner Kurt Busch, 23XI Racing, Jordan Brand Toyota Camry

Race winner Kurt Busch, 23XI Racing, Jordan Brand Toyota Camry

Photo by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images

Busch has constantly updated the media regarding his recovery process and previously said that "everyday life is normal."

Speaking at Daytona Int. Speedway on Saturday, he said: "Last year, in Las Vegas, where my racing career began, I set in front of many of you and it was one of the toughest and hardest things I’ve had to do in my racing career, and that was to talk about not being behind the wheel of a race car. After decades spent at a race track, with helmet in hand preparing to compete, I was forced to take a step back and focus on my health. While stepping away from full time racing for the 2023 season, it has been difficult, but it has provided me with a different perspective and gave me more time to focus on my recuperation and reflect on all of the sport has given me and all I have still to give back to it.
 
"Racing at NASCAR’s highest level requires every last bit of focus, heart, stamina and determination, and I know, right now, I can’t give what is required to compete at that level, week in and week out. So, I’m officially announcing my retirement from NASCAR Cup Series competition. Over the last several months, being out of the car, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to remain actively involved with 23XI, Monster Energy and the Toyota Racing family and want to do all that I can to continue making this race team one of the best in motorsports. I guess it is fitting at age 45, my 23 years as a full-time driver in NASCAR would culminate in working with 23XI to impart the knowledge that I have for our drivers and our team.
 
"As I transition out of the driver’s seat, I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed to have spent the amount of time as I did as a driver in NASCAR, and I could have never imagined it growing up as a blue-collar kid in Las Vegas. So many people have been a part of my journey. I want to thank the fans, my family, friends, sponsors and team members. Thanks to everyone who has taught me those different things around the motorsports world and also for those who have had to put up with me. I just want to thank everyone again who continues to push me to achieve success in this sport. It’s time for a new journey, and I’m excited to get it started."
 

It was speculated that Busch planned to retire at the end of the 2023 season, but the accident forced those plans to change abruptly. 

The elder Busch brother's career was one of consistency, always able to push his equipment to the front of the field. He won at least one race in 19 of his last 21 seasons, which stands as one of his most impressive accomplishments. 

Busch also started the 2014 Indianapolis 500, finishing sixth and earning ROTY.

He ends his NASCAR career 25th on the all-time wins list, currently tied with fellow Cup champion Martin Truex Jr.

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