Silly Season scorecard: A new mix for the new year
Deep into December, the start of the 2023 NASCAR season seems far away, but shops have been busy getting cars and plans ready for the new year.
Some teams have new faces in new places. The biggest change for the new year will be Kyle Busch sitting in the No. 8 Chevrolets at Richard Childress Racing after winning championships with Joe Gibbs Racing. Ty Gibbs replaces Busch but will drive JGR’s No. 54. Ryan Preece moves into the No. 41 at Stewart-Haas Racing, and Tyler Reddick joins 23XI Racing.
A look at Silly Season as the calendar approaches 2023:
No. 1: Ross Chastain, the surprise driver of 2022, returns to keep the fire burning -- and the watermelons smashing -- at Trackhouse Racing.
No. 2: Austin Cindric, Daytona 500 winner and rookie of the year, returns to Team Penske.
No. 3: Austin Dillon returns in Richard Childress Racing’s flagship number.
No. 4: Kevin Harvick will seek a return to playoff power.
No. 5: Signed by Hendrick Motorsports through 2026, Kyle Larson drives toward a second championship.
No. 6: Now firmly established as the boss at Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, Brad Keselowski will look to boost RFK’s profile in his second season there.
No. 7: Corey LaJoie returns, and why not put his face on his car hood for Daytona again?
No. 8: After a long and successful run at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch joins Richard Childress Racing. What will happen? Just watch.
No. 9: Chase Elliott might be in this car for the rest of his career. He’s signed through 2027.
No. 10: Aric Almirola announced his retirement but made an abrupt U-turn and will return to this car for Stewart-Haas Racing. Bring the bacon.
No. 11: Denny Hamlin tries again to nab that first championship.
No. 12: Ryan Blaney, “Mr. Almost But No Point Wins in 2022,” is back with Team Penske.
No. 14: A return to Stewart-Haas Racing for one of the surprise drivers -- Chase Briscoe -- of 2022.
No. 15: Several drivers will share this ride for Rick Ware Racing.
No. 16: AJ Allmendinger jumps back into Cup full-time for Kaulig Racing.
No. 17: Chris Buescher scored RFK Racing’s first win this season.
No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. considered retirement for a while but will be back with JGR for at least another year.
No. 20: Christopher Bell was Mr. Magic in the 2022 playoffs. He’s back for another shot.
No. 21: Harrison Burton returns for another season in the iconic Wood Brothers car.
No. 22: The champ, Joey Logano, won’t be leaving the Penske ride.
No. 23: Bubba Wallace is back.
No. 24: William Byron remains at Hendrick Motorsports.
No. 31: Justin Haley makes another run for Kaulig Racing.
No. 34: Michael McDowell returns to Front Row Motorsports.
No. 38: Todd Gilliland back at FRM for his sophomore season.
No. 41: Ryan Preece takes over this ride from Cole Custer in 2023.
No. 42: Noah Gragson, fresh from a sensational season in Xfinity, moves up to Cup with the new and improved Petty GMS team, now co-owned by Jimmie Johnson. Johnson plans to run a part-time Cup schedule with the team -- car number not yet known.
No. 43: The King’s car will carry Erik Jones again.
No. 45: Tyler Reddick drives from Richard Childress Racing to 23XI in one of Silly Season’s biggest moves.
No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse returns.
No. 48: Alex Bowman expected back full-time after missing several races late in 2022 with concussion-like symptoms.
No. 51: Cody Ware and possibly other drivers will be in this ride.
No. 54: Ty Gibbs will drive this car, while Joe Gibbs Racing parks the No. 18 for the 2023 season.
No. 78: Josh Bilicki will drive part-time for Live Fast Motorsports.
No. 99: Daniel Suarez, now a Cup winner, is back for Trackhouse.
No. 00: Cole Custer returns to the Xfinity Series for Stewart-Haas Racing after three years in Cup.
No. 1: Sam Mayer returns to JR Motorsports for a second season.
No. 2: Sheldon Creed returns to Richard Childress Racing.
No. 4: Bayley Currey is back at JD Motorsports.
No. 6: Brennan Poole is on board at JD Motorsports.
No. 7: Justin Allgaier returns to JR Motorsports for another shot at an elusive title.
No. 8: Josh Berry looks to reach the playoffs again for JR Motorsports.
No. 9: Brandon Jones departed Joe Gibbs Racing to drive for JR Motorsports.
No. 10: Landon Cassill is back with Kaulig Racing.
No. 11: Daniel Hemric returns with Kaulig Racing.
No. 16: Chandler Smith moves into the Kaulig Racing vacancy left by AJ Allmendinger.
No. 18: Sammy Smith driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
No. 19: Ryan Truex will run a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs.
No. 20: John Hunter Nemecheck driving for JGR.
No. 21: Austin Hill returns to Richard Childress Racing and also will run six Cup races for Beard Motorsports.
No. 24: Connor Mosack with Sam Hunt Racing.
No. 25: Brett Moffitt on board with AM Racing.
No. 26: Kaz Grala runs Xfinity full-time for Sam Hunt Racing.
No. 34: Jesse Iwuji and Kyle Weatherman possible drivers here.
No. 39: Ryan Sieg back for another season.
No. 45: Ryan Ellis and Saga Karam on board at Alpha Prime Racing.
No. 51: Jeremy Clements back with his family team.
No. 78: Garrett Smithley will race full time for BJ McLeod Motorsports.
No. 98: Riley Herbst returns to this ride and will have Cole Custer as a teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing in the Xfinity Series.