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Nobody moves the NASCAR needle quite like Dale Earnhardt Jr., and his latest round of tweets have thrown fuel on an already burning Kyle Busch fire.
As speculation grows about where Busch – a two-time Cup champion – will sign for next year and beyond, Junior fired off a pair of cryptic tweets Thursday night that set the NASCAR world on fire.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 8, 2022
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 9, 2022
Kyle Busch close to signing with either Richard Childress Racing or 23XI Racing
I’ll go ahead and decode those emojis for you.
Junior, in his own way, is throwing out the idea that Busch is close to signing with either Richard Childress Racing or 23XI Racing. Both of those NASCAR teams, by the way, were named as the two frontrunning organizations for Busch by OutKick yesterday.
The first tweet suggests that Busch – the tree emoji, of course – would possibly replace Tyler Reddick in the RCR No. 8 Chevy. Reddick has already signed with 23XI for the 2024 season in a move that still doesn’t sit well with Childress.
The second tweet suggests Busch – yep, another tree – could sign with 23XI Racing, the team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
Spoiler alert: the 100 basketball emojis represent MJ, who dabbled in the NBA for a few decades I hear.
Could Kyle Busch replace brother Kurt Busch?
If Busch were to sign with 23XI, as OutKick wrote yesterday, it could possibly mean that Busch’s brother, Kurt Busch, won’t return to the No. 45 Toyota next season. Kurt Busch has missed the past six races due to lingering concussion symptoms and will most likely miss the rest of the season.
Kurt is already signed with Jordan’s race team through next season, but that’s no longer a guarantee with his recent health issues.
If Busch were to possibly retire before next season, his seat would open up and could possibly open the door for brother Kyle to drive the No. 45 Toyota for a season before Reddick slides into the seat in 2024.
As OutKick wrote earlier in the week, Busch and Reddick could then swap seats for the ’24 season, with Busch joining RCR and driving Reddick’s No. 8 Chevy.
Got all that?
While no announcement is expected tonight, it does appear the Kyle Busch sweepstakes are down to those two teams, although a mystery organization could always swoop in at the 11th hour.
If Busch does leave his current team, Joe Gibbs Racing, he would instantly become the biggest free agent driver since Junior left DEI for Hendrick Motorsports back in 2008.
As always, check back with OutKick for the latest developments. Or, of course, keep refreshing Dale Jr.’s Twitter.
Sounds like a win-win in my book!