Dave Alpern, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, left no words minced: The team intends to have Kyle Busch back in the No. 18 Toyota for the 2023 Cup Series season along with Ty Gibbs back in the Xfinity Series.

What muddies those plans is the lack of signed contracts midway through the 2022 season.

Busch, the only active multi-time Cup champion on the circuit, is losing longtime sponsor Mars, Inc. at the end of the season. In a Thursday teleconference, Alpern noted the search for the two-time titlist‘s replacement sponsor remains ongoing.

“We‘ve been pretty consistent since the end of last season, which is we want Kyle to be in the (No.) 18 car and that‘s our plan,” Alpern said. “We‘re still working on sponsorship, and as much interest as there is in our sport, these take a long time. And admittedly, this one‘s taking a little longer than we thought. It‘s not for lack of interest. It‘s just trying to get everything put together. So those will probably happen in parallel. And, again, we‘re hoping to get something decided here in the very near future.”



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