HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Joe Gibbs Racing announced Thursday that Kyle Busch has signed a long-term extension to continue driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry.
In addition, JGR will field the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the Nationwide Series for at least 25 races with Busch as the primary driver. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Busch, who has won 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and made the Chase for the Cup five times since 2005, said he chose to stay with JGR after weighing offers from two other ownership groups.
"It's something that is really exciting that we've been working on for a long time," Busch said. "I probably took a few years off coach's life, but hopefully not. I'll repay him somehow, maybe with some championships."
Busch has 105 career wins spanning all three NASCAR series, including 51 in the Nationwide Series. However, the 27-year-old Busch is coming off a disastrous season by his own standards.
He finished 13th in the Sprint Cup standings and missed the Chase. And while he ranked second in the Cup in laps led, he only found Victory Lane once and finished the year with 13 top-five finishes after winning a combined 19 races the previous four years.
Busch ran his own car in the Nationwide Series and was winless in 22 races, posting three seconds and two thirds after winning 40 races in the previous four seasons. He competed in three events on the Camping World Truck series but failed to win there, too.
He called it his "worst season ever."
During negotiations, Busch said, Gibbs was "adamant" about Busch racing JGR cars during the Nationwide series, which he feels will give him a better chance to win.
"So I will be rejoining forces here and running about 25 races and then filling out the rest of the races with some younger talent in the non-companion races," Busch said.
Busch said he feels comfortable working for Gibbs, which made the decision to return fairly easy. Of course, the lucrative contract didn't hurt either.
"The good news is we signed him to a long-term deal, the bad news is we now work for him — and we're broke," Gibbs joked.
With Matt Kenseth joining Busch and Denny Hamlin on the Sprint Cup Series, Gibbs said this is the most excited he's been entering a season.
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