Tyler Reddick and 23XI Racing shocked the NASCAR world on Tuesday by announcing a deal in place for Chastain to leave Richard Childress Racing at the end of next season and join the Toyota powered team in 2024. That move isn’t necessarily to replace 1 of their 2 existing drivers as they’re prepared to run a 3rd car if need be.
23XI Racing said on Tuesday that Bubba Wallace is in their long term vision and that Kurt Busch has a ride as long as he wants it.
Still, Busch is a free agent at the end of next season too. Does he come back in 2024 or hang up his helmet? If he does, Reddick gets his seat. If he doesn’t, then 23XI Racing needs a 3rd charter.
That’s just 1 of the many storylines for next year’s silly season. So why are we discussing next year then? Because this year’s could be much tamer than last year’s and next.
Last year you had Trackhouse Racing buying out Chip Ganassi Racing, Brad Keselowski leaving Team Penske to starting his own while Kaulig and GMS Racing each moved up to full time status in Cup.
This year, too many plans are already in place for next. The only ones really left is what Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing does and if Aric Almirola truly is stepping away at seasons end. There’s talks of Almirola returning for 1 more year before the possibility of Ryan Preece taking over in 2024. There’s also been talks of Preece sliding into the No. 10 Ford for 2023 too.
The Busch and JGR deal is interesting. JGR doesn’t have the sponsorship in place to sign him yet for what Busch thinks he deserves. See, Busch wants a higher base and he’s earned that right. Why would the only multi-time champion in the sport today take a pay cut? If that’s the case, then the threats of retirement may very well be true.
However, I can also see them coming to a 1-year deal to pay him what he’s owed to keep him under the JGR/Toyota umbrella and giving them more time to figure this out for 2024. That would largely be the extent of the silly season for 2023 rides.
3 of the last 5 series champions could be free agents. Busch could be again. Martin Truex Jr. definitely is as he only signed a 1 year deal which lasts through 2023. Joey Logano’s contract is up at the end of 2023 too. Add to the mix so 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick’s with Stewart-Haas Racing as well.
We also know Alex Bowman and Ross Chastain’s contracts are up at the end of 2023 too. Does Hendrick give Bowman another contract? Does Chastain come back to Trackhouse knowing what else is out there and especially knowing the new contract structure would be in place for this negotiating period. His stock as never been higher so it’s in Trackhouse’s best interest to lock him in now prior but does Chastain bet on himself by waiting and declining that deal for a while?
The 8 car at Richard Childress Racing is also up for grabs for 2024 which is why next year could be just as wild on the silly season front as last year was.
One could speculate that Truex Jr., Harvick and Kurt Busch all walk away. That leaves a seat open at JGR and SHR. I can’t see Logano turning his back on Penske but money talks.
This year could be tame but buckle up for next season already.