Kyle Busch says Toyota teams are “idiots” by not working close together

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kyle Busch admits he’s frustrated that Toyota partners Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing do not work as closely together as other teams do.

Busch felt the same way after last year and says he hasn’t seen any improvement between the teams with the season-opening Daytona 500 less than a month away.

“I’m very vocal about it because I feel like we’re idiots by not continuing to work in the right direction in order to put our companies together and do the right things for Toyota and for all of us collectively,’’ Busch said Monday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup media tour. “It just makes me mad every day they say that nothing has progressed.

“Nothing has happened to where Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing are going to work collectively together as in-depthly as Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are.’’

Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have combined to win the past two Cup titles and three of the last four with Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas) last year, Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick) in 2013, and Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas) in 2011.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing combined to win only two races last year. Busch won at Auto Club Speedway and teammate Denny Hamlin won at Talladega.

“Yes, we came 12 laps from winning a championship, (but) it was a terrible year,’’ David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told MotorSportsTalk. “It was a bad year. It was completely unsatisfactory. We underperformed as a team. That’s Toyota and our team partners. That for us was certainly something that gave us some additional fuel to say, ‘Guys we need to be better than this, we have to be better than this.’ ‘’

So, shouldn’t the Toyota teams be working more closely together after such a year?

“We would like there to be better collaboration between our organizations, but we don’t feel like we can force it either,’’ Wilson said. “There is so much trust and confidence required to make that work well that if you force it, you could send it off the rails prematurely.’’

Wilson said that the teams are working together in some ways. He noted their preparation for restrictor-plate races and that the teams went to the wind tunnel together last year.

“There are a lot of things that are happening in the background,’’ Wilson said. “There’s not a lot that has been up front, but make no mistake there’s been a tremendous amount of conversation, discussion, collaboration happening in the background that most people aren’t aware of.’’

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.