In a move that everyone figured would eventually come, Tyler Reddick will be leaving Richard Childress Racing at seasons end and joining 23XI Racing a year early. It’s not a stunning move at all.
See, the whole reason 23XI Racing even went after Reddick in the first place was knowing that he was up for grabs for the 2024 season and it gave them time to plan for if they needed to bring out a 3rd car or not. They were willing to do so, but this gave them leeway to figure this part out.
By moving to a 3rd team, they would need to acquire a 3rd charter and by getting a 3rd charter meant dishing out millions. It also meant hiring engineers, pit crews, etc because if Reddick came over early, it had to be done the right way with the right people.
Bubba Wallace is signed for the foreseeable future in the No. 23 Toyota. The No. 45 Toyota is Busch’s for as long as he wants it. While he’s a free agent at the end of next season, the organization has maintained that the ride is Busch’s so long as he wants to keep racing. If that meant he wanted to sign a new deal for 2024 and even beyond, then they’d set up a 3rd car for Reddick.
That’s why they announced the signing in July of this past year for this to begin in 2024. It gave them time.
However, with Busch stepping away full-time, it opened up a seat early and allowed a perfect scenario for all parties.
On the flipside, it made the upmost sense for RCR to negotiate with Reddick and 23XI to make this happen and allow him out of his contract early. It was just a one year option anyways because Reddick’s initial deal ended at the end of this season with an option for 2023. Both sides agreed upon that option with the focus turning to it ended at the end of 2023.
Childress was pissed about how it was handled and it wasn’t a secret that tension rose between the two camps. When Reddick won at Indy, it was the first time the two had spoke since that July 12 announcement.
“Winning helps,” each said. It sounds like the wound though never fully healed because Childress went out and hired Kyle Busch to replace Reddick for 2023. He got his guy and was tossing Reddick aside next season. The thing is, it didn’t make much sense in the manner that he was going to do so.
RCR had to now purchase a 3rd charter and hire the same components that 23XI would have had to. They don’t have the resources or the bank account that 23XI has. RCR has been operating on a slimmer budget and 2 cars is where their wheelhouse is.
If they truly had intentions to run a 3rd car, it was going to cost them millions to bring in Kyle Busch, a salary of Austin Dillon as well as Reddick now to go along with having to spend 8 figures on a charter to go along with more millions on a new cars, engine package, pit crews, etc. It made zero sense to do so for just 1 year.
They had to say all the right things in order to not breach a contract and to also drive up their asking price to allow Reddick out of that 2023 extension.
It opened the door though to negotiation between Reddick and 23XI to figure out a number to get Reddick out of the door at RCR.
Now, we know he is.
So what’s left to fill?
The only other rides for 2023 open are with smaller teams like Front Row Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing and Live Fast Motorsports and the 18 at JGR who by all accounts will be going to Ty Gibbs.
HMS is set with their current 4 car lineup with signing Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and William Byron to extensions already. Trackhouse has both drivers back with Daniel Suarez on a one-year contract extension.
Kaulig has Justin Haley back and now AJ Allmendinger full-time in the 2nd car.
SHR has the same 4 car lineup with Aric Almirola announcing that he’ll forego retirement and come back on a new multi-year deal.
Then you have free agents of Suarez, Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman for 2024. Suarez is betting on himself while Truex and Harvick could step out the door in a swan song season leaving rides with JGR and SHR open.