Race Weekend Central

What’s Left of the 2023 NASCAR Silly Season?

The 2023 NASCAR season probably seems deceptively set in stone. With all the announcements both during the 2022 season and in the weeks since, surely there isn’t much still to be decided, right?

Well … yes and no.

Despite a rash of lineup reveals in the NASCAR Xfinity and Craftsman Truck series ranks especially in November and December, and even with the NASCAR Cup Series roster for 2023 having been solidified for the most part, the sport approaches the new year with a few arrangements waiting to be penciled in — some big, others small.

Here’s a quick rundown of what still remains to be announced or at least confirmed, as of Friday, Dec. 9.

NASCAR Cup Series

-Rick Ware Racing is returning to the Cup Series — that much is known based on its recent announcement that it’ll move to a technical alliance with RFK Racing for 2023. But who will drive the Nos. 15 and 51? One wouldn’t necessarily expect Cody Ware, who’s raced the No. 51 full time the last two years, to depart, especially after a 2022 season that saw him make marked improvement and score his first top 10. The No. 15? Harder to say; the car was home to multiple drivers in 2022, and 2023 could include a similar rotating cast (save for Ryan Preece, who’s moved to Stewart-Haas Racing full time).

-Team Hezeberg debuted in the Cup Series in 2022 with a pair of entries; the No. 27, driven by Jacques Villeneuve in the Daytona 500 and Loris Hezemans elsewhere, competed in six events, while the No. 26 showed up later in the season with Daniil Kvyat for three starts. It seems unlikely that a team would put resources into starting a Cup organization only to jump ship after a season, so chances are Hezeberg will return in 2023. But it’s remained mum on the subject so far.

Read all of Frontstretch‘s content looking back on 2022 here

-Initially intended as a late-season debut in 2022 with more races on its schedule in 2023, 3F Racing eventually pushed the No. 30’s premiere to next year. All that’s known at this point is that the Germany-based organization hopes to run five to 10 races, with a proposed start at either Daytona International Speedway or Atlanta Motor Speedway, but a driver has not yet been announced.

-Characteristically, Front Row Motorsports has been quiet on its driver plans for 2023. The team will certainly be back in Cup, having announced its crew chief assignments to the Nos. 34 and 38. After a career year, Michael McDowell seems likely to return, too. As for Todd Gilliland in the No. 38? Could be, but it hasn’t yet come straight from the horse’s mouth. One driver assignment is for certain: Zane Smith‘s scheduled to run the Daytona 500 and other races for the team. No announced number, yet, though, and keep in mind that FRM could also rent out another team’s number for the occasion. 

See also
2022 Cup Series Awards: Celebrating the Best Parts of NASCAR's Craziest Year

-Petty GMS now has Jimmie Johnson in the fold as a part-owner and part-time driver. He’ll run Daytona to start. The arrangement is otherwise nebulous — what car number? What other races? Could someone else drive for the team as well?

-Smart money would in theory have Petty GMS fielding the No. 44 for Johnson; after all, it already has the Nos. 42 and 43 in its stable. One problem with that: in 2022, the number was used by NY Racing Team. Whether or not NYRT comes back, though, isn’t known. The team initially planned a much larger schedule in 2022 but ended up only racing five, all with Greg Biffle, and didn’t show at all after Talladega Superspeedway’s spring race. There were rumblings of a late-season return, and the team’s social media remains active. Really, anyone who’s followed the team throughout its various iterations knows anything could happen with it, whether that’s a return in 2023 or never showing up again — or somewhere in between.

-23XI Racing’s full-time lineup is set with Bubba Wallace and the incoming Tyler Reddick. The only question mark concerns Kurt Busch, who announced he wouldn’t be running full time in 2023. He left open the possibility of a part-time 2023 run, depending on his health. No announcements to be had just yet.

-The Money Team Racing will return for another part-time schedule with its No. 50, and Conor Daly is its guy — mostly. The only wrinkle at the moment is the Daytona 500, which the team could run with Daly. But it could also field the car for, say, Helio Castroneves, who’s linked to the race after a bet won with Camping World SRX Series CEO Don Hawk. 

-What’s MBM Motorsports’ deal? Hard to say, at least on the Cup level. Social media posts indicate the Carl Long-owned team plans to return in 2023. As a primary Xfinity-based organization, a return there would likely be in the cards. Cup, though? The team, of course, has some Next Gen cars, entering two cars in the 2022 Daytona 500. But its Cup presence was significantly curtailed in 2022; like NYRT, it didn’t show again after Talladega. Unclear if the Cup program intends to press on.

-Live Fast Motorsports is back in 2023 with its No. 78, having announced a move to Chevrolet. The arrangement since the team’s inception has been a schedule primarily contested by co-owner BJ McLeod, with others filling out the schedule at the road courses in particular. LFM has made no indications it intends to change that arrangement, but it hasn’t explicitly said anything about it, either.

-Team Stange Racing initially announced a part-time Cup schedule for 2022 with Tarso Marques driving. It promptly did not show up for a single race. Is 2023 the year? The team tweeted in November that it will compete next year and that it’ll be releasing plans in early December.

-Trackhouse Racing Team’s PROJECT91 Cup car made its debut at Watkins Glen International in 2022 with Kimi Raikkonen, with an expressed desire to run between six and eight races in 2023. Given the team’s broad stroke of potential suitors as an international driver-focused ride, speculation has run rampant as to who could run the car since. No go yet, though, on a schedule or lineup.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Editor’s note: the Xfinity and Truck sections will only reference full-time teams’ plans, except in rare circumstances.

-BJ McLeod Motorsports will return in 2023 with Garrett Smithley piloting its No. 78 full time. Further plans are not yet known; in 2022, the team also fielded the No. 5 full time, plus the part-time No. 99 and ultra-part-time No. 55. Matt Mills, who primarily drove the No. 5, has not yet revealed any plans for 2023.

-As mentioned in the Cup portion, nothing’s known yet about MBM’s plans for 2023. 

-Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 is back for at least six races, with Ryan Truex driving. It’s not yet clear if the team is intended to be full time, just that more drivers are to be announced.

Austin Hill is expected to be back at Richard Childress Racing in the No. 21, and the likelihood of his return was further solidified with his announcement of a part-time Cup schedule with the RCR-affiliated Beard Motorsports. No official announcement yet, though.

-Our Motorsports fielded three cars — the Nos. 02, 23 and 27 — in 2022. No word on 2023 plans yet, just that the No. 27’s Jeb Burton will not return.

-Sam Hunt Racing has Kaz Grala in its No. 26 full time, while its No. 24 moves to full time as well, with Connor Mosack running most of the schedule. Still not known who will drive the other 13 races.

-RSS Racing has Ryan Sieg back in its No. 39, but no go on any other plans for the team next year just yet. It fielded the No. 38 full time and the No. 28 part time. Ryan’s brother Kyle Sieg seems likely to factor in, and CJ McLaughlin hasn’t announced any 2023 plans yet either.

-Jordan Anderson Racing is expected back in 2023, but it’s not yet known if Myatt Snider will return with it.

-Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will be back in 2023, and there’s even a chance of expansion. Jesse Iwuji figures into the plans, of course, and he’s likely to bring Kyle Weatherman into the fold if he can find funding.

-Emerling Gase Motorsports announced earlier this year an expansion to a two-car full-time operation after debuting in 2022 with the full-time No. 35 and part-time No. 53. As for drivers? Plan is to have the No. 35 have one occupant while usual suspects Joey Gase, Patrick Emerling and Shane Lee split the No. 53. Nothing official yet.

See also
2022 Xfinity Series Awards: Going Streaking in Strange & Unusual Ways

-DGM Racing appears likely to return based on its social media presence, but nothing has been announced for the team, which fielded two full-time cars and two part-time rides in 2022.

Ryan Ellis and Sage Karam have joined the Alpha Prime Racing lineup so far, with co-owners Tommy Joe Martins and Caesar Bacarella expected as well. Beyond that? Still to be determined. In 2022, the team ran the Nos. 44 and 45 full time.

-Mike Harmon Racing is back in some capacity next year with a new part-owner in Gary Keller, who’s previously been linked to JD Motorsports. That’s pretty much the extent of what’s known about the team for 2023, though — no schedule, driver, etc. Brennan Poole, the team’s primary driver in 2022, has moved to JDM.

-In August, Brandonbilt Motorsports indicated it planned to return in 2023, but no details have been shared just yet. 

-JDM has said it hopes to bring back its No. 0 to flank its Nos. 4 and 6, to be driven by Bayley Currey and Poole, respectively. The team does not yet have anything to share on that front.

-SS-Green Light Racing, via a Stewart-Haas Racing partnership, fielded the Nos. 07 and 08 full time in 2022, with SHR driver Cole Custer giving the team its first win. Custer certainly won’t be back in 2023 as he moves to a full-time SHR Xfinity ride, but 2022 primary guys Joe Graf Jr. and David Starr haven’t announced any plans yet, so one figures they could be part of the equation. That’s assuming, of course, the team returns at all, but still having active social media indicates it will.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Editor’s note: the Xfinity and Truck sections will only reference full-time teams’ plans, except in rare circumstances.

-Hill Motorsports had its first full-time driver to contest the entire Truck schedule in 2022 thanks to owner Timmy Hill, who piloted the No. 56 in all events. Where does the team — which also fielded a part-time No. 5 for Tyler Hill — go from here? Unclear at the moment, though at the very least, it’ll change the number of its second truck should it continue running one, as the No. 5 will be handled by Dean Thompson at TRICON Garage next year.

-2022 marked CR7 Motorsports’ first full Truck schedule following two seasons in which its No. 9 ran the majority of — but not the entire — schedule. It’s not yet known what 2023 holds for the team or its driver, Blaine Perkins.

See also
2022 Truck Series Awards: The Last of a Generation

-There’s general uncertainty right now regarding the plans of Young’s Motorsports, which entered three full-time trucks in 2022. Spencer Boyd, the driver of the No. 12 in 2022, has at minimum sponsorship for the Truck Series’ return to The Milwaukee Mile, but his press release didn’t explicitly mention Young’s. The other two trucks, the Nos. 20 and 02, were piloted by a variety of drivers, some of whom have already revealed plans for 2023, such as Grala’s move to the Xfinity Series and Jesse Little‘s retirement.

-ThorSport Racing is expected to return three of its four drivers for 2023 — Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton — with Christian Eckes having moved to McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. His replacement, if any? Sounds like Hailie Deegan, according to a report from RacinBoys. No official announcement yet.

-Hattori Racing Enterprises won’t have Chase Purdy back in 2023, as he’s moved to Kyle Busch Motorsports. Nothing else is known other than the fact that the team intends on returning. Those plans could include 2022’s No. 16 driver Tyler Ankrum, as he hasn’t announced any plans otherwise.

-TRICON’s full-time lineup is mostly set, with Thompson, Corey Heim and Tanner Gray running the full schedule and Taylor Gray tapping in once he turns 18. That means three races are unaccounted for driver-wise for the No. 17, though, and TRICON hasn’t said who will drive it.

-AM Racing is planning a full-time run in the series yet again in 2023, though the driver of the No. 22 hasn’t been revealed. Austin Wayne Self is still linked to the team, of course, but AM plans on moving up to Xfinity as well (though whether that’s a full- or part-time team remains to be seen). In 2022, Self was joined in the No. 22 seat by Max Gutierrez and Brett Moffitt, neither of whom have revealed 2023 plans — nor has Logan Bearden, who drove the No. 37 once.

-After fielding the No. 30 for Tate Fogleman at the beginning of the 2022 season, On Point Motorsports ended the year with Kaden Honeycutt in the seat. The team appears to plan on returning for 2023 based on its social media posts, but it hasn’t announced anything so far.

Bret Holmes has said he’d like to move his family-owned No. 32 team to a full-time organization, whether that’s with Holmes himself driving every race or not. Will it happen? No schedule shared yet.

-The only thing that’s known about Reaume Brothers Racing’s 2023 plans is that its second truck won’t be the No. 43; GMS Racing will take over the number for Daniel Dye‘s rookie season. It seems likely the team, which has been in the series since 2018, will press on in some capacity.

-McAnally-Hilgemann has Eckes and Jake Garcia in its Nos. 19 and 35 next year. The only question mark is Daytona, as Garcia will not be old enough to pilot the No. 35 there.

-Niece Motorsports has Carson Hocevar in its stable for 2023, returning to the No. 42. As for its other trucks? Nothing to share with the class so far. One of its full-timers in 2022, Thompson, has moved on, but the other, Lawless Alan, still seems to be available for the time being.

-G2G Racing, which contested the majority of the 2022 schedule, has said it plans to field Travis McCullough in a race, at least. Beyond that, no announced plans for the No. 46 (or for its even-more-part-time counterpart, the No. 47).

-KBM will have Purdy in its No. 4 and Jack Wood and owner Kyle Busch in the No. 51. Aside from the schedules for the latter two not being totally clear yet, though, there’s also a handful of races Wood or Busch wouldn’t be running that still need addressed.

-Halmar Friesen Racing appears to be returning in 2023, and one would assume co-owner Stewart Friesen would be the driver of the No. 52. No explicit announcement yet, though, nor has there been anything on the part-time No. 62.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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Johnny Cuda

Thanks Kevin. Quite a lot of detail there!

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