They call it “silly season” and, frankly, this is one of the silliest things we’ve heard in a while.
Kyle Busch that Richard Childress Racing?
Until this summer, that would’ve been laughable for a variety of reasons, especially for those who remember these infamous three words:
“Hold my watch.”
It was 11 years ago at Kansas Speedway when a thoroughly fed-up Richard Childress started jawing with Busch in the garage area after a Truck Series race at Kansas. Childress was 65, Busch 26.
Busch had been on Childress’ nerves for a year or more, and then he popped an RCR truck during the Kansas mislabeled cool-down lap.
“Enough,” Childress apparently declared.
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After the requisite verbal sparring failed to solve anything, Childress removed his watch and, according to onlookers at the time, put Busch in a headlock and gave him a little what-for.
Must’ve been a good one, because NASCAR fined Childress $150,000 for his actions and put him on probation for the rest of that season.
That’s right, Childress was once basically ordered to stay away from Kyle Busch, and now this? It heals all wounds, it seems.
So do contract necessities.
Kyle needs a new ride soon
Busch’s longtime sponsor, M&M’s, is leaving after this season, and team owner Joe Gibbs apparently can’t find a deep-pocketed replacement. So Busch has been rumored as possibly going here and there…but RCR?
Childress, whose No. 3 Chevy won Sunday’s race at Daytona, was asked about the rumor afterwards and certainly didn’t shoot it down.
“Kyle’s a great race driver,” he said. “He and I have talked. We put all our differences behind us a while back.
“He’s a great race driver. He’ll land him a good ride somewhere for sure.”
The obvious follow-up: Will it be at Richard Childress Racing?
“You said that, I didn’t,” Childress replied.
Man, talk about a lot of moving parts. With this one, as a wise man once said, it’s like you’re trying to hold six ping-pong balls under water with five fingers.
Childress has two cars on his Cup team. Grandson Auston Dillon is in the No. 3 and isn’t going anywhere. But Tyler Reddick is in the team’s other car, the No. 8, and recently angered the organization by signing a contract with 23XI Racing — the Denny Hamlin-Michael Jordan team — but that deal doesn’t take effect until the 2024 season.
Childress would likely prefer to cut ties with Reddick after this season, but things aren’t always that easy, especially with signed contracts involved.
However, there’s the Kurt Busch factor. Kurt, Kyle’s older brother, has been sidelined for six weeks with concussion symptoms and his return no longer seems guaranteed.
If Kurt is done, or decides he doesn’t want to return for another full season, that leaves 23XI’s No. 45 seats open. Maybe Kyle could land there, but starting in 2024 that car is reserved for Reddick.
RC learned a hard lesson about an old Rolex
So, back to the RCR possibilities. That wouldn’t have seemed likely in recent years, as the Childress team failed to keep pace with the current blueblood teams owned by Gibbs, Rick Hendrick, Roger Penske and Stewart-Haas.
But Reddick’s emergence this season (two wins, eight top-5s) shows the potential is there for RCR. Put Kyle Busch in that seat, and no telling what could happen.
Oh, hold my watch?
Let’s just say, if you ever anger a strapping older fella and he starts to remove his watch, you’d better buckle up. Childress, on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s popular podcast a few years ago, explained the time-honored practice.
It seems he learned it the hard way, years ago in Daytona Beach during Speedweeks.
“We used to go out to the bars and have a good time and everything,” Childress said. “We were up at an old bar in Daytona one night and a big fight broke out. I happened to be in it.
“I had a Rolex. First Rolex I ever had in my life. I lost it in that fight. Ever since, you always take your watch off.”
Always? Goodness RC, how many of these things have you taken part in?
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Kyle Busch and Richard Childress? Former NASCAR brawlers may team up