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Latest updates on Kaulig Racing’s plans for the 2023 season

Latest updates on Kaulig Racing's pursuit of Kyle Busch, possible options for the No. 16 Cup car, and drivers that make sense for the Xfinity Series lineup.

Austin Konenski
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Kaulig Racing has been in the news lately when it comes to its 2023 plans and the speculation will continue to ensue until the lineups are finalized for the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series.

Let’s dive into the latest updates on Kaulig Racing.

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Kaulig Racing might be “taking a step back” regarding Kyle Busch

Kaulig Racing
Jan 25, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Kaulig Racing’s #31 car being tested by Justin Haley and Daniel Hemric, drives through pit road during a Next Gen car test at Phoenix Raceway.Nascar Nascar Next Gen Car Test At Phoenix Raceway

Kaulig Racing has been a suitor for Kyle Busch and while they might still be in the mix, the organization might be taking a step back when it comes to its pursuit of the two-time champion.

According to The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi, Kaulig Racing might not be in the running for Busch at this time. However, it was stressed that it can change and has been changing by the hour, which has been echoed by Busch.

“From the conversations I’ve had with people, it sounds like Kaulig Racing is maybe taking a step back and maybe is no longer in the running for Kyle Busch. Not saying that it can’t change, because you guys know. A proposal that is not there today, could be there tomorrow.”

Jordan Bianchi on Kaulig Racing/Kyle Busch

This comes after much noise that Kaulig Racing could be the organization for Busch in 2023 and beyond. As stated above, this doesn’t mean it can’t change but it’s alarming for those who want him in the organization.

Bianchi talked more about the likeliest destinations for Busch if Kaulig Racing might not be as relevant in the discussions anymore.

“But, as of now, I would look at Richard Childress Racing and 23XI Racing as the two teams to kind of circle as potential likely destinations for Kyle Busch and then Kaulig Racing is still in the mix a little bit.”

Jordan Bianchi on Kyle Busch’s likely destinations

Richard Childress Racing and 23XI Racing continue to be good options for Busch as it appears unlikely that he will return to the No. 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing next season.

This possible development brings up the question of what will happen with Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 car in the NASCAR Cup Series next season.

Potential ideas on Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 car in the NASCAR Cup Series

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Kaulig Racing currently fields two full-time entries in the NASCAR Cup Series with Justin Haley piloting the No. 31 car while many drivers run part-time in the No. 16 car.

Busch has been linked to Kaulig Racing where he would likely drive the vehicle but that idea seems to be losing a little bit of steam. If that continues, what will the organization decide to do with its second entry?

One idea would be to continue running the car part-time with its NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers and any other drivers that would make sense. Noah Gragson was one of them but he will drive the No. 42 car for Petty GMS Motorsports next year.

Another idea would be to sign a driver on a full-time basis. Daniel Hemric would be the driver to circle due to multiple factors. Hemric might be struggling this season despite being the defending Xfinity Series champion, but he deserves another shot.

The 31-year-old driver ran well in the No. 16 car and has a driver rating that is close to Haley’s rating, despite not being a full-time driver. Hemric’s best finish came at Auto Club Speedway when he finished in ninth place.

A.J. Allmendinger has been strong in the vehicle, specifically the road courses, but it remains to be seen whether he would like to re-enter the Cup Series on a full-time basis. It might be more likely for Hemric than Allmendinger.

Either way, the Cup Series lineup is not the only thing that Kaulig Racing is trying to figure out for the 2023 season.

Possible drivers for Kaulig Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series lineup

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There is a possibility that Kaulig Racing’s lineup in the NASCAR Xfinity Series sees some movement. This might not even depend on whether a current driver jumps to the Cup Series too.

Landon Cassill currently drives the No. 10 car but the entry has seen movement over the last two seasons. Ross Chastain and Jeb Burton have driven the entry and moved on when the season concluded. Granted, it was for different reasons that Cassill might not face.

John Hunter Nemechek could be a fantastic option if Busch moves to Chevrolet next season. Nemechek could follow Kyle Busch Motorsports to Chevrolet and start his ascent back to the NASCAR Cup Series.

The 25-year-old has impressed in the Sam Hunt Racing entry and would compete for wins immediately. Nemechek and Kaulig Racing would be the most perfect fit imaginable if there is movement.

Jeffrey Earnhardt would be an out-of-the-box option for Kaulig Racing if things fall correctly. Earnhardt has some sponsorship and would be a good fit with the organization.

The 33-year-old is looking for an opportunity and they gave other drivers, such as Burton and Cassill, opportunities to prove they belong in the Xfinity Series.

Both drivers would make sense depending on what happens with the lineup. It’s certainly a situation to watch as Kaulig Racing looks to finalize its lineups for the 2023 season and possibly beyond.