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Bubba Wallace switching numbers to 45 for rest of year

Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 45 car the rest of the season, 23XI Racing announced Wednesday.

The move is being made because the No. 45 -- originally driven by Kurt Busch and now by Ty Gibbs since Busch’s injury -- is vying for the owner’s title in Cup. The car had previously qualified based on Busch’s win at Kansas in May. Wallace will remain paired with crew chief Bootie Barker.

Ty Gibbs will drive the No. 23 and keep Billy Scott as his crew chief.

“After consulting with NASCAR, we made this decision in the best interest of the entire organization and for all our employees who helped earn a spot in the playoffs for the owner’s championship through their hard work,” said team president Steve Lauletta in a statement.

“While Ty has done a great job for us in the No. 45 car, we feel that Bubba’s experience in this car, at the upcoming playoff tracks and his recent momentum will give 23XI the best chance at maximizing our points each weekend. We recognize that this is a unique opportunity in the Cup Series, and we’re grateful to our employees and partners for standing with the team and supporting this decision.”

The playoffs begin with Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on USA Network).