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NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing’s big lineup predictions for 2023

Joe Gibbs Racing has holes to fill within its 2023 driver lineups in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series. Here are predictions on what happens next season.

Austin Konenski
Syndication: The Tennessean
Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Joe Gibbs Racing completed the 2022 NASCAR season with many questions about the lineup situations for its Cup and Xfinity Series programs next year.

Let’s predict the organization’s lineups for each series starting in 2023.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s lineup in the NASCAR Cup Series has one big change

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Nov 5, 2022; Avondale, AZ, USA; In a spray of Monster Energy drink, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs (54) celebrates his championship and race victory after the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gould/The Republic Nascar Xfinity Series Race

The organization’s lineup in the NASCAR Cup Series seems pretty set outside of one glaring hole left by Kyle Busch after he announced his intentions to drive the No. 8 car for Richard Childress Racing in 2023.

This means Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Christopher Bell will remain with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2023 season. Hamlin will stick around as he most likely finishes his full-time career with the organization in the coming years.

Truex considered retirement but decided to come back for another go at wins and championships. The driver of the No. 19 car showed obvious regression as he finished the 2022 season without a single victory.

Meanwhile, Bell just finished his breakout season with a third-place finish in the Championship 4 after a bad pit stop which cost him an opportunity at the championship. If not for the late-race caution, Bell would have been in a great spot.

The driver of the No. 20 car has also signed a long-term contract with Joe Gibbs Racing so if his performance during the 2022 season was not enough, the contract backs up the organization’s commitment to him.

Finally, Ty Gibbs will end up replacing Busch in the No. 18 car next season. It would not be surprising to see Joe Gibbs Racing use the No. 54 car instead but the No. 18 car makes more sense.

Now, with Gibbs in the No. 18 car in these predictions and Brandon Jones moving to JR Motorsports, it means the organization’s NASCAR Xfinity Series lineup will be brand new.

Related: Joe Gibbs Racing to announce NASCAR lineups after the 2022 season concludes

NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series lineup undergoes entire revamp

Syndication: Arizona Republic and NASCAR
Nov 5, 2022; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Sammy Smith (18) rounds the fourth corner during the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gould/The Republic Nascar Xfinity Series Race

As of now, Joe Gibbs Racing has its NASCAR Cup Series lineup mostly figured out. However, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is almost the complete opposite as an entirely new lineup is needed for 2023.

The prediction will be that Joe Gibbs Racing fields three full-time entries. Two of them will be filled by full-time drivers while the other is filled by part-time drivers on a full-time basis.

Sammy Smith will be predicted to pilot the No. 18 car for the organization. Smith almost won the Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway and was impressive during the 2022 season.

While the results don’t show what he was truly capable of accomplishing, it doesn’t take away from the success that he almost had this season and what will be produced moving forward at 18 years old.

The second full-time driver is predicted to be John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 19 car. Nemechek will be with Toyota next season but his exact whereabouts are currently unknown at this time.

Joe Gibbs Racing seems to be a good fit as it represents the best opportunity for the former Kyle Busch Motorsports driver. Plus, Nemechek has seen success with the organization after winning at Texas Motor Speedway in 2021.

The final entry will be completed by other Toyota Racing drivers. It will act as the organization’s “All-Star” car which has been used for numerous seasons before 2023.

The 2023 season is bound to be an interesting one as there are plenty of changes going on at Joe Gibbs Racing. The organization has plenty of driver announcements to make this offseason.