“Kurt Will Represent It Well” – Kyle Petty on 23XI Racing Using the #45 for Their Second Car

Published 08/28/2021, 9:14 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 27: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Recently, news broke that Kurt Busch will join the 23XI Racing team for the 2022 Cup Series season. The 2004 champion will partner African-American driver Bubba Wallace when the new season kicks off. Reports revealed that the outfit will give him the #45 number, which is pretty special in NASCAR circles because it is steeped in a bit of history for Kyle Petty and his family.

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Talking about Busch taking his number, former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty said, “The number 45 is a special number to myself and the entire Petty family. We look forward to seeing that number back on the race track contending for race wins and championships. Seeing the number compete again, under the 23XI Racing banner, with Kurt behind the wheel, is exciting for us.”

According to Petty, the number holds memories of his late son, Adam Petty. As it turned out, Adam lost his life during a practice session during the 2000 Xfinity Series season. Around that time, he raced with the number 45, and Kyle believes that Kurt Busch will do it justice.

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What else did Kyle Petty say?

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Petty continued, “Victory Junction — a place of empowerment and inclusion for kids with chronic and serious medical illnesses envisioned by Adam — are proud to see the 45 car return and where this team will take it on the track.”

Kyle himself raced in the #44, but switched to #45 after his son’s passing. Later on, he made the change permanent, and it stayed with him until his retirement. Since then, the #45 has not been seen in the Cup Series. It seems that Kyle Petty has given his blessing to use the number, and Kurt Busch has the honor to bear it.

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (1) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On an interesting note, many fans wanted 23XI Racing to bring back the #45 number in honor of Adam Petty. Some even petitioned for 23XI Racing to showcase one of Adam’s schemes. If the outfit decides to oblige with the petitions, they could do it during a NASCAR Throwback Weekend.

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Dhruv George

11993 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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