Skip to main content

No one wins the Daytona 500 by completing just 23 laps or at Martinsville by finishing 45. However, Kyle Busch has scored his first small victory, proportional to races at those tracks, ahead of his impending debut with Richard Childress Racing.

Kyle Busch makes his Richard Childress Racing debut in February

Tyler Reddick drives the No. 8 Chevy during the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 10, 2021. | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick drives the No. 8 Chevy during the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 10, 2021. | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Sponsor money accounts for 60-80% of budgets in the NASCAR Cup Series, putting a heavy burden on teams to go out and sell. Landing a sponsor who commits to buying prime estate on a car for even a quarter of the season brings an owner as much joy as having that car roll onto Victory Lane. Landing a sponsor for three-quarters of the schedule feels like winning the championship – and might well contribute to accomplishing it.

Mars, Inc., plastering M&Ms and other brands on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota for three-quarters of the year, made it easy for Joe Gibbs Racing to pay Busch’s salary, fund the team, and drop some money in the bank. When the sponsor informed the team during the 2021 season that it was leaving this month, a year-long drama ensued.

JGR found it impossible to line up enough sponsorship money to pay Busch what he sought while still covering the other costs, so the future Hall of Famer is moving to Richard Childress Racing and the No. 8 Chevy beginning with the Busch Light Clash in February.

Kyle Busch has his first sponsor lined up at RCR

He can’t get far with a sponsorship presumably covering no more than four races in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series, but Kyle Busch appears to have his first sponsor onboard. Sports Business Journal reported on Thursday that Lenovo has committed to continuing with Richard Childress Racing.

Lenovo sponsored two Tyler Reddick races in 2021 and four this season, and reporter Adam Stern quoted a marketing executive from the firm as saying, “Yes, we are certainly planning to continue to sponsor the Childress team next year.”

If the phasing seems cryptic, it’s likely intentional. Busch and/or RCR could have obligations with others preventing them from revealing deal details before the start of 2023. But it certainly seems logical that Lenovo’s commitment is to Busch’s new ride.

Still a long way to go


Kyle Busch’s Season Is Over, but the Wheels Continue to Turn

If Lenovo is only sponsoring four races with Kyle Busch next year, there’s still a long way to go to fund his season. However, the fact that an existing sponsor of the No. 8 Chevy is coming back is a good sign.

The question about Busch once Mars, Inc., revealed it was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing has been whether his acerbic comments and a personality that can be abrasive would scare off new money. One advantage Richard Childress Racing has over JGR and its Mars, Inc., deal is that only one 2022 primary sponsor (3CHI, 14 races) booked more than six races with Tyler Reddick’s car last season. Lenovo and seven others covered the remaining 22 points races.

Whereas larger partners might not want to risk an eight-figure commitment just yet, RCR has better odds of convincing those who sponsored between one and six races to stick with them, perhaps even getting some to pick up additional races.

There’s work remaining, but RCR has at least started the wheel rolling.

Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected].