Tyler Reddick and 23XI Racing shocked the NASCAR world on Tuesday afternoon when team owner Denny Hamlin announced Reddick will be joining the team starting in 2024.
What should we make of Reddick’s move and what might be next in silly season?
Analyzing Tyler Reddick to 23XI Racing
The move itself should not be very surprising as Reddick was going to be a highly sought-after free agent for the 2024 season; however, the timing of this announcement is very surprising.
It was predicted in Sportsnaut’s NASCAR silly season article that Reddick would stay with Richard Childress Racing for the 2023 season but it didn’t mention an announcement for 2024 coming.
Meanwhile, Richard Childress Racing released a statement on the move and it sure sounds like they are not happy with its current driver for making this announcement now.
The 26-year-old driver will either join 23XI Racing in a third car or replace one of their current drivers, which are Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch.
Wallace’s results would likely have him on the hot seat if not for unfortunate luck. But, with the number of sponsors Wallace possesses and how 23XI Racing was formed, it seems unlikely.
Busch would be the other option but he has a victory at Kansas Speedway and has been outperforming Wallace throughout the 2022 season. It wouldn’t make sense to replace him unless retirement is coming.
There’s always a possibility that 23XI Racing keeps both drivers add simply adds a third entry. That would be the best option but does Denny Hamlin want to buy a third charter yet?
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This also changes the landscape of Richard Childress Racing. Austin Dillon will likely drive the No. 3 car in 2024 while the No. 8 car is now open. Three options make the most sense on the surface.
Noah Gragson, Sheldon Creed, and Austin Hill are all drivers that could make the move. Creed was acquired with the intention of putting him in a Richard Childress Racing car in the NASCAR Cup Series.
However, Creed has struggled while Hill has won two times during the 2022 season. Hill might be the most realistic option if Creed is not ready to make the jump.
Chevrolet loves Gragson and could move him to the No. 8 car in 2024, but will he even be available when that time comes? It would not be surprising to see Gragson stay one more year in the Xfinity Series for the opportunity.
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Gragson’s sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, make him a great fit with Richard Childress Racing and as stated above, Chevrolet is high on the 23-year-old Las Vegas native.
It’s hard to peg someone as the favorite this early, but Gragson might be the best fit on paper and it would be a good move on his side if he doesn’t pick up a full-time ride for next year.
Other NASCAR silly season domino effects
The process of the 2022 NASCAR silly season is still ongoing as teams look to fill out their lineups for the 2023 season, let alone the 2024 season.
The biggest opening appears to be the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing as it remains likely that Kyle Busch returns to Joe Gibbs Racing moving forward.
Aric Almirola announced his intentions to retire from full-time racing at the conclusion of this season but could that change with a push from Smithfield and a change of heart?
That storyline has been gaining steam as it was also mentioned on the NBC broadcast before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
There are no clear front-runners for the No. 10 car that have been publicly reported yet. Almirola has been the only one clearly connected as he still drives the car.
Ryan Preece has been connected but it makes sense for him to replace Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 car when he decides to hang it up, which could be at the conclusion of his contract at the end of the 2023 season.
Many organizations would have wanted Reddick on their roster but it takes him off the board. Stewart-Haas Racing could have potentially three openings and Joe Gibbs Racing could have a few too for the 2024 season.
Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske seem set while Trackhouse Racing has Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez. However, nothing can be ruled out during these processes.
It’s certainly surprising and unprecedented to see an announcement this early for a move this far in the future. It only creates more questions for the future of certain organizations.
For now, the focus should be on the 2022 NASCAR silly season as things should start to pick up soon.