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Kyle Busch will move to Richard Childress Racing next season, ending a 15-year career with Joe Gibbs Racing because the team could not come to terms with NASCAR’s only active multiple Cup champion.

Busch will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for Childress in an announcement made Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He wore the two Cup championship rings he won driving for Gibbs on his middle fingers.

“I’ll be taking my talents to Welcome, North Carolina, to drive the No. 8 car starting in 2023,” Busch said of moving to the team based about an hour north of Charlotte.

Tyler Reddick, who is currently competing for the Cup championship in the No. 8 Chevrolet, will remain under contract at RCR and drive for the team next season. Reddick in July told Childress he was moving to 23XI Racing in 2024.

Richard Childress said he informed Reddick he’d be out of the No. 8 next season one hour before Busch’s announcement. Childress said he’d obtain a third charter for Reddick’s car, but gave no other details except that Reddick’s current crew chief will be paired with Busch next season.

When Childress joined Busch at the announcement, the Hall of Fame team owner presented Busch’s 7-year-old son, Brexton, with a contract option to someday drive for RCR. But before that, Childress handed Busch his “signing bonus,” which was a boxed watch.

Childress in 2011 tussled with Busch after a Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. The car owner removed his watch and handed it to someone, saying ‘Hold my watch’ before the altercation. Childress was fined $150,000 by NASCAR afterward.

Childress and Busch, now 37 years old, long ago made amends, which helped make RCR a landing spot for Busch during his excruciatingly long free agency period. JGR learned longtime partner Mars Wrigley was leaving the sport at the end of 2022, and Gibbs had been searching for a deep-pocketed sponsor to keep Busch in the No. 18 Toyota.

Busch even said he’d drive for below his market value to get a deal done.

But as the year went on and no progress was made on Busch’s 2023 plans, he was forced to look elsewhere for both his own Cup seat and a landing spot for Kyle Busch Motorsports, his Truck Series team. KBM will now be a Chevrolet organization, but Busch said all details on KBM and how many trucks it fields next year is still being decided.

“Kyle has been a major part of our history and success here at Joe Gibbs Racing. We are thankful for all his contributions to our organization over the years,” Joe Gibbs said in a statement. “When you look at all that he has accomplished already, it is truly remarkable, and we know someday we will be celebrating his Hall of Fame induction.”

The move to RCR and rival Chevrolet is a tremendous blow to Toyota, which has been with Busch since he joined JGR and powered him to all but four of his 60 career Cup wins. Busch is also the winningest driver in the lower-level Xfinity Series and Truck Series, and his KBM truck team is a massive part of Toyota’s dominance in that series.

But Toyota could do nothing to find Busch a slot in its small fleet — JGR and 23XI combine for a Cup Series-low six full-time entries — and Busch was able to move to Chevrolet. The manufacturer lauded the driver it considers a future Hall of Famer for all that “one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history” has accomplished for Toyota.

“We’re disappointed and saddened that his future won’t continue to be with Team Toyota,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “Kyle has been an ambassador for Toyota since joining the program in 2008. He’s gone on to accumulate some of the most prestigious milestones possible for the Toyota brand. He will undoubtedly hold the record for the most wins in a Toyota across all three Championship Series for decades to come.

“But more than that, Kyle has been a friend, part of our family and has played a key role in the development of many of our drivers through his ownership of Kyle Busch Motorsports. We wish nothing but the best for Kyle and his entire family as he moves into the next chapter of his Hall of Fame career. We’re thankful to have been along for the ride.”

Childress said the atmosphere at his shop in Welcome has been electric since rumors started that Busch might move to the organization. He also said when he looks in Busch’s eyes, he sees the same fiery look of competition he once saw in the late Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt won six of his seven Cup championships driving for Childress. But RCR has not won a title since Earnhardt’s final championship in 1994. Reddick, a two-race winner this season, is currently 11th in the playoff standings. Austin Dillon, Childress’ grandson, won the regular-season finale to snag the final playoff spot, is 14th in the standings as the Cup Series heads into Saturday night’s elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It was Dillon, Childress said, who encouraged his grandfather to speak to Busch after Reddick blindsided RCR with his plans to leave in 2024. Busch goes into Bristol ranked 13th in the standings. The move to RCR returns Busch to Chevrolet, the manufacturer he began with when he signed a development driver contract with Hendrick Motorsports when Busch was a teenager. He made his Cup debut as a 19-year-old for Hendrick and won four races over three seasons driving the No. 5 Chevrolet — the number currently used by champion Kyle Larson.

Busch was released from Hendrick at the end of 2007 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. became available and Hendrick could no longer tolerate Busch’s volatile behavior. Gibbs gave Busch a longer leash — Gibbs won three Super Bowls with the Washington Commanders and also employed Hall of Fame driver Tony Stewart — and Busch thanked Gibbs on Tuesday for “being patient with me.”

“You guys took a chance at a kid 15 years ago to let me drive a race car, and we hit the ground running,” Busch said of Gibbs, who allowed “me to be a kid and grow into a man, most days.”

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

The Colorado Rockies placed left-hander Kyle Freeland on the 15-day injured list Friday with a left elbow strain.

The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

Freeland appeared to injure his right shoulder while attempting to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Bud Black, however, said Freeland was “fine” after the game.

Freeland, 30, has limped to a 0-3 record with a 13.21 ERA in four games (all starts) this season. He is 55-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 188 career games (183 starts) with the Rockies.

Also on Friday, Colorado recalled right-hander Noah Davis from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Davis, 26, owns a 0-2 record with a 6.62 ERA in four games (all starts) with the Isotopes. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in nine career games (six starts) with the Rockies.

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider began to feel discomfort in his right elbow in spring training but didn’t realize the severity of the injury until learning he needed season-ending surgery.

Strider said he had a bone fragment develop following Tommy John surgery in 2019 that caused the ulnar collateral ligament to become unstable. Strider also said he did not have a tear that required a second Tommy John surgery and he instead had an internal brace procedure, perhaps giving him a better opportunity to recover for the start of the 2025 season.

Strider finally complained about the issue after pitching four innings in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on April 5.

“You’re not going to feel good when you’re playing baseball every day,” Strider said Friday while standing in front of his locker in his first news conference since the surgery. “So I’m not searching for that. You know, like I said, I’m going to pitch through anything if I feel like I can help the team and I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore, so I thought it’s time to say something.”

An MRI the next day revealed damage to his UCL. Texas Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure on April 13.

“They’re theorizing that I tore some connective tissue … and that’s what destabilized the ligament,” Strider said. “And maybe I blew through the last of that on that game and things deteriorated pretty quickly throughout the outing.”

Strider was Atlanta’s No. 1 starting pitcher after going 20-5 with 281 strikeouts in last year, when he led the major leagues in wins and strikeouts.

With his right arm immobilized in a sling, Strider said he will look for ways to support his teammates.

“These guys don’t don’t need me to to win a World Series,” he said. “So you know they’re going to pursue that journey. I’ll be here here to cheer them on.”

Replacing Strider will be a challenge.

Right-hander Allan Winans allowed seven runs — six earned — over five innings in a 16-15 loss to the New York Mets on April 11 and was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game.

Right-hander Darius Vines had more success, allowing one run and four hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-1 win at Houston on Monday. Vines is scheduled to make his second start of the season on Sunday night against Texas.

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D-backs’ Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

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D-backs' Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

The Arizona Diamondbacks placed right-hander Ryne Nelson on the 15-day injured list Friday because of an elbow contusion suffered the previous night.

Nelson was hit on the right arm by a line drive off the bat of the San Francisco GiantsMike Yastrzemski during the second inning of his start Thursday night.

The team recalled outfielder Pavin Smith from Triple-A Reno in the corresponding roster move.

Smith, a first-round pick (seventh overall) of the Diamondbacks in 2017, hit .188 (36-for-191) in 69 games with Arizona last season, dropping his average to .240 in his four big-league seasons. He has 28 home runs and 116 RBIs in 391 games.

The Diamondbacks also designated infielder Jace Peterson for assignment. Peterson had only one hit in 22 at-bats for Arizona this season and hit .183 (17-for-93) through 41 games with the Diamondbacks in 2023.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.

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