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23XI Racing ‘preparing’ a third entry for Kurt Busch if cleared to compete in NASCAR

23XI Racing is preparing a third entry for Kurt Busch in the event that he wants to run some races, starting with Travis Pastrana at the Daytona 500.

23XI Racing/Kurt Busch
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

23XI Racing will field Bubba Wallace in the No. 23 car and Tyler Reddick in the No. 45 car as the 2023 season will be underway soon. This is different than what the organization expected ahead of the 2022 season.

Kurt Busch, the former driver of the No. 45 car, was supposed to drive the entry this year; however, a concussion suffered at Pocono Raceway ended his full-time career. This sped up the process and made Reddick join 23XI Racing one year early.

Now, the organization is set to field racing legend Travis Pastrana in the No. 67 car for the 2023 Daytona 500. It will be a third, unchartered entry that might see more action over the course of the year.

Related: Travis Pastrana to run the 2023 Daytona 500 with 23XI Racing

23XI Racing wants to be ‘prepared’ for a third entry, Kurt Busch could drive future races if desired

23XI Racing/Denny Hamlin/Kurt Busch
May 28, 2022; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (L) walks down pit road with NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (R) during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Pastrana’s entry into this year’s Daytona 500 comes as a surprise as no one truly thought it was a possibility. The racing legend has only run a handful of races since his full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series season with Roush Fenway Racing in 2013.

The 39-year-old driver would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut if he qualifies as one of the four open entries. However, there is even more notable news surrounding the third entry for 23XI Racing.

Team owner Denny Hamlin spoke to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass about running Pastrana in a third, part-time entry for the 2023 Daytona 500.

“For us personally on a race team, (23XI Racing) would like to get our feet wet and work on our third team, and work on the personnel for that. I think this gives us an opportunity to kinda do dry runs for that for our future.”

Denny Hamlin on 23XI Racing’s third entry at the 2023 Daytona 500

After some thought, it is not surprising to see 23XI Racing work on a third entry moving forward. The door for Busch to compete in NASCAR on a part-time basis was never closed and allowing Pastrana to fulfill his dream only makes this situation better for every party.

However, this all depends on Busch’s recovery and if he will be cleared to compete in NASCAR this season. It would likely remain a few races but Hamlin continued to talk about the 2004 Cup Series champion and the opportunity to field a competitive third entry moving forward.

“That’s kind of the gameplan for us with our (23XI Racing) team is that if (Kurt Busch) decides that he wants to run races, we have to be prepared for that and we have to be prepared to field a very competitive race car…I feel like the depth that we have within our team, we are able to field a car that’s going to very competitive when that time comes for us to run a part-time entry.”

Denny Hamlin on having a third 23XI Racing entry for Kurt Busch

The organization is going into its third full-time season and it takes time to build up personnel. As stated above, the 42-year-old driver and owner feels confident about what is ahead with a third entry due to the depth created over time.

It remains to be seen when 23XI Racing will field its third entry again this season. Stay tuned for any updates on the organization’s plans as Busch could run some races in 2023.