LAS VEGAS — Kurt Busch, who is still dealing with a concussion he suffered three months ago and was advised by doctors to retire from a race car, will not be a full-time team in 2023.

44-year-old NASCAR The champion made the announcement Saturday at the Las Vegas Autodrome, his home track where he began his career in the bullring as a child. He choked up as he said doctors told him “it’s best for me to stop it.”

“I know I’m not 100% in my ability to go out and race at the highest level in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Busch said. “These are the best of the best riders and I haven’t been feeling my best lately. My long-term health is the number one priority and I don’t feel obligated to fight for the championship next year in my best interest or the best interest of the team.”

Tyler Reddick will replace Bush at No. 45 Toyota to 23XI Racing next season. Reddick was signed to the team through 2024, but no longer has to complete his contract with Richard Childress Racing because RCR has signed Kyle Busch, Kurt’s younger brother and two-time Cup champion, for next season.

“I’ll be back at 100%, I promise,” Bush said. “If I’m allowed, maybe you’ll see me in a few select races” next season.

Redick said the circumstances surrounding his early release from RCR aren’t ideal, but he’s excited to get started with his new team. Redick will be teammates with Bubba Wallace.

“Racing is a huge challenge, being competitive is a challenge,” Reddick said. “I would take it and take on any challenge that comes my way. But for me, I’m very excited to start the journey from (23XI) a year early and we can get down to business.”

Bush was injured in a routine accident in July of that year exposed a design flaw in the new NASCAR Next Gen car. He has missed 13 consecutive races so far. Alex Bowman, also injured last month, has missed two straight games with a concussion and said he will be out for at least three more races this week.

Busch is the last active driver to compete in a Cup race against the late Dale Earnhardt and the last driver to compete in the inaugural 10-driver Cup Chase in 2004, the year he defeated the Hendrick Motorsports leader to win his only name.

With Busch’s retirement, Kevin Harvick became the last active driver to race when NASCAR’s top series was called the Winston Cup Series.

23XI praised Bush’s contributions to the sophomore team.

“We knew he was going to elevate our organization in a number of ways,” the team said. – From earning 23XI our first playoff appearance with his convincing win at Kansas Speedway, to spending countless hours off the track helping to grow our program, Kurt has made us better.

“This season took an unexpected turn because of his injury. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Kurt did not stop being a true professional and a reliable teammate. We fully support Kurt’s decision to focus on his health and are grateful for his leadership as our team builds a strong foundation for the future.”

He is in his second season with 23XI Racing, and team co-owner Denny Hamlin said the organization and Toyota want Busch to remain a part of the team. He is contracted until next season to the 23XI.

“Unfortunate circumstances have forced Kurt to make a difficult decision, but we know he will continue to contribute to the entire Toyota program, TRD and 23XI Racing,” said David Wilson, President of Toyota Racing Development. “He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge. and the experience of leading his team and other Toyota competitors. We are here to support Kurt in the next chapter of his career and look forward to working with him in the future.”

Busch made his Cup debut in 2000 with Roush Racing in a Fordthen spent the entire season as a rookie in 2001. He was fired after five tumultuous seasons with Rausch — including the 2004 title — and moved to Team Penske to manage the team To dodge in 2006.

His relationship with Penske also ended badly after the 2011 season and Busch moved to Phoenix Racing to manage the team Chevrolet for James Finch for one season, then moved to Furniture Row Racing in 2013, where he resumed his career – and began to show maturity on and off the track with his notorious character.

Busch moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 and was suspended by NASCAR for the first three races of 2015 due to domestic violence allegations made by an ex-girlfriend. He later moved to Chip Ganassi Racing and finally to 23XI to drive for Toyota in 2021.

He is one of the rare drivers to compete and win for every NASCAR manufacturer. Busch and his brother, along with Bobby and Terry Labonte, became the only siblings to win the Cup.

“For him to have spent 23 years in the sport and had a phenomenal career and the fact that he can’t go back full-time is obviously doctors’ orders, in the hope that he can still come to terms with it and be satisfied with what he will do. forward,” Kyle Busch said. “He’s healthy, he’ll be able to be normal, as normal as Bushy, for the rest of his life, and that’s good.”

Kurt Busch won 34 races in 776 starts over 23 years, including the 2017 Daytona 500 with SHR and the Monster sponsor that remains with him to this day. He said he would remain a Monster ambassador and approached Fox Sports about continuing to work on television.

“For more than two decades, we have had the honor of watching Kurt Busch compete. He’s proven himself as a champion on the racetrack, but perhaps just as importantly, he’s grown to become a true ambassador for the sport,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “Kurt’s commitment to improving the future motor sports singled him out. We are thrilled to have him remain in our sport as a leader and trusted resource. Kurt’s unparalleled passion for racing gives us hope that we will see him in a race car again.”