DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — There’s been a bunch of driver announcements in the NASCAR Cup Series lately. It all started 2 months ago at the Nashville Superspeedway when both Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. announced new deals to stay with their respective teams.
In fact, that’s been the brunt of all the announcements with the exception of one.
Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano each have reached long term extensions to remain at Team Penske. Both announcements were made in the last 2 weeks. A few weeks prior though, 23XI Racing announced a new multi-year deal with Bubba Wallace. A week prior to that it was Petty GMS Racing announcing that Erik Jones will stay put in a multi-year deal.
Also on Friday, Trackhouse Racing announced Daniel Suarez will stay in place for 2023.
The only move of someone moving on is Tyler Reddick but that won’t occur until 2024. He’ll come back to Richard Childress Racing in 2023 but then depart for 23XI Racing in 2024 instead.
So, where does this all sit moving forward?
It’s really all down to the Busch brothers.
Kyle Busch is the only major free agent left. Kurt Busch has a deal through 2023 with remain with 23XI. However, his health is in question as he’s missed the last 6 weeks. Does he come back? He’s aiming to but it’s not up to him.
Does Reddick come over early? Sounds like that’s not even being discussed. 23XI admitted that they made this deal for Reddick so they can plan. They’re not interested in buying him out early nor are they wanting to expand to a 3rd full time car. It’s too late for all the above. So if Busch isn’t back, then maybe they reach out to Kyle. The thing is, I don’t think Kyle wants to wait that long.
He’s running out of options to stay in a competitive ride now unless someone gets creative.
For Ford, Penske is locked in at 3 cars and not expanding to 4 cars. SHR now has 3 of their 4 drivers solidified but it sounds like Cole Custer will return too. There’s no other top Ford ride open.
Toyota has the 18 ride open but that’s the one Busch is in now.
Chevrolet is full with Hendrick Motorsports and it doesn’t sound like Reddick will get bought out. Trackhouse is full now. Kaulig Racing is the new hot rumor and it could land Kyle Busch Motorsports to Chevrolet power.
It makes the most sense.
The only other rumor that’s been thrown around is HMS buying out Alex Bowman a year early to make a run at Busch. They have a sponsor in Ally and Bowman is a free agent at the end of next season. Without a crew chief in place for that 48 car in 2023, Busch could make some sense here and he could pick the crew chief he wants.
That’s all speculation though.
2023 is full of free agents with Harvick, Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Bowman and others.