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Kyle Busch on offseason prep, selling his truck teams and halting Rowdy Energy

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Kyle Busch didn’t have the transition to a new team this offseason that he had a year ago, but this offseason certainly had a different feel than past ones for the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Busch sold his Kyle Busch Motorsports truck teams, the shop and his race-car manufacturing business to Spire Motorsports. He also saw the energy drink Rowdy Energy, which he co-founded, announce plans earlier this month that it will cease operations.

Busch did have some stress early in the offseason as he had to clear out the shop of his cars and trophies as Spire moved in just a week after the 2023 season ended. He then raced along with son, Brexton, in the Tulsa Shootout for micro sprints in late December. 

After a short vacation, he spent last week going from stop to stop during NASCAR production days.

[Read more: NASCAR Year In Review: Top 23 stories of 2023]

As he talked to FOX Sports between a series of photo shoots, he reflected on an offseason not preparing for another year of KBM on the national series level after 15 years where KBM won 100 truck races (as well as one Xfinity race in the short time it competed in that series).

“I definitely miss the truck series team a little bit,” Busch said. “KBM still exists. We’re just racing at the grassroots level with me and Brex. But I’m obviously missing the people that were there and going into the shop and seeing them every single day or every week or whatever it might have been.

“That’s the part that I feel like I was going to miss from the start and kind of still do a little bit.”

While he doesn’t have a truck team, Busch is still preparing race cars for his own non-NASCAR events and his son.

“It’s also a little bit less stressful of just having two or three guys that I got to deal with now that I’m able to go into our [family] shop and just kind of work on cars myself and do some things,” Busch said. “I’ve been the decal guy. I’ve been the fabricator. I’ve been the welder. I’ve been the engineer. 

“We’re working on everything right now.”

Kyle Busch on what’s been different this offseason after selling his KBM truck team

So will that help him in preparation for the Daytona 500? Busch is skeptical. But he also thinks it could benefit him in a small way.

He obviously has more time to focus on his main job driving for Richard Childress Racing as he enters his second year with the organization after a long tenure at Joe Gibbs Racing.

“I wouldn’t say any of that prepares me more for the Daytona 500,” Busch said. “Being able to kind of take some of the things that I was doing on my schedule off, it allows me to open up a few more free time, free days in order to be able to go over to RCR and be with [crew chief] Randall [Burnett] and those guys and work on some stuff and be a part of the race team a little bit more.”

While the news came out a couple of weeks ago that Busch’s energy drink was shutting down, it was something Busch had known would happen. 

Busch had started the Rowdy energy drink brand in 2020. The 38-year-old Busch has long carried the nickname “Rowdy” for his comparison to the “Days of Thunder” character Rowdy Burns. 

Kyle Busch discusses the shutting down of Rowdy Energy

“Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out,” Busch said. “We didn’t get the re-buys and the resales of everything to be able to keep it on the shelves. And so it wasn’t worth putting good money to bad and we made the business decision to let it go.

“I hate it. I wanted that to really work and be something. I heard all about Rowdy nation telling me how great it was and how much they enjoyed it. You never know. Maybe we’ll try something else down the road.”

The company did face some legal issues (class action lawsuits and a complaint registered with the California attorney general) that are relatively common in the drink category when it comes to ingredients and advertising.

“We were talking about shutting it down in April-May,” Busch said. “And then all the lawsuits came [later] before it closed [while] we’re just trying to get rid of the rest of the product that we had on stock.”

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.


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