“What It’s Like To Feel Misunderstood”: Kyle Busch Sponsor Rallies Rowdy Nation In Apparent Dig at JGR

Published 12/13/2022, 6:15 AM EST

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Long relationships in NASCAR are rare. However, Joe Gibbs Racing has been an exception, as they had two drivers who had been with the team for a very long time. Denny Hamlin for 18 years, and Kyle Busch for 15. But all that changed in what was a turbulent year for the team.

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2022 was supposed to be a big year for Kyle Busch. However, in his 15th season for Joe Gibbs Racing since joining the team from Hendrick Motorsports, Busch had other concerns too. He had a contract that was due to expire at the end of the season.

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But the first hit came from a different angle – his sponsorship. Mars & Wrigley sponsored the Candyman for the last 15 years too, but the company decided to not renew its contract beyond the 2022 season. The blow from JGR followed – the team also decided to drop him. The team for which he won 2 Cup Series Championships no longer found him indispensable.

Serendipitously, a spot opened up at Richard Childress Racing and he grabbed that. His troubles with sponsorship followed him to RCR, but after a dry patch, KFB finally found companies willing to bet on him for his driving ability. Since joining RCR, Busch has successfully found multiple sponsors, viz. Alsco, Lenovo, and BetMGM.

His primary sponsor will be Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. With “Cheddar” being a part of their name, it is ought to be misunderstood as a place selling cheese. Their social media team took the opportunity to crack a joke about it. They brought Busch into the thick of it too.

The restaurant chain based out of Texas is famous for its chicken tenders, homemade chicken pot pie, and house-smoked baby back ribs.

Hopefully, for Rowdy Nation, next year will be a lot less of misunderstandings and more wins.

JGR might have a hand in the troubles faced by Kyle Busch

Busch had a lot of trouble finding sponsors ever since his divorce from the candy manufacturing conglomerate, Mars & Wrigley. His driving abilities might not be the reason behind those troubles, according to a NASCAR journalist.

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A fan asked, “Hey Bob, I was really hoping Rowdy would be able to bring some sponsorship with him from Gibbs. I know that’s not the norm, but this isn’t a normal split either. I mean, if you’re Interstate battery, I would much rather have my ties with Kyle than Ty Gibbs.”

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Bob Pockrass answered, “No idea if it is the case here, but teams are getting better about protecting sponsors with clauses that they can’t follow a driver for a year. That might not prevent it from happening but it can then cost driver/sponsor time, headache & $$ to make it happen (buyout, lawyers, etc).”

For most people, this will come as a surprise. Given the large amounts of money involved in NASCAR, teams have to protect their best interest and thus contracts have such restrictive clauses.

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If JGR follows this practice, most other teams would be doing the same. The team is hardly responsible for any blame.

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Written by:

Abhay Tyagi

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Abhay Tyagi is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. Although he has completed his undergrad in Law and Management, he has always been eager to venture into the exciting field of sports journalism. With a special affinity for Engineering and Speed, Abhay has always found the world of Formula 1 quite exhilarating.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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