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NASCAR silly season nearing the end of its cycle in 2022

NASCAR silly season still has some unanswered questions but most have a solution. What are the last notable rides open for the 2023 season?

Austin Konenski
NASCAR: Xfinity Series Championship
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR silly season is nearing the end of its cycle for the 2023 season as many questions have been answered. However, there are still some unsolved mysteries as teams wrap up their plans for next year.

Let’s dive into the latest news and updates for silly season and which teams still have openings as of now.

Latest news and updates on NASCAR silly season for 2023

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Nov 5, 2022; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs (54) makes his way to the winners stage to claim his trophies 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

There has been some rapid driver movement to start the second week of the NASCAR offseason after Joey Logano won the NASCAR Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 6.

Ty Gibbs will drive the No. 54 car for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup Series starting in 2023. This means the No. 18 car will no longer circle the track but the organization will use it in future years.

It will be interesting to see what that means for the organization. Will the No. 19 car go away or will Denny Hamlin possibly ask for the No. 11 car for 23XI Racing with his and Fedex’s contracts up after the 2023 season?

Meanwhile, Riley Herbst was announced to return to Stewart-Haas Racing with Monster Energy and the No. 98 car for a third consecutive season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. It will represent a possible breakout year for Herbst.

However, the driver of the No. 98 car will have a teammate. Cole Custer will move to a second full-time entry for the organization in the Xfinity Series with a number not yet determined. The No. 00 car would make sense though.

This is because Ryan Preece will drive the No. 41 car for Stewart-Haas Racing on a full-time basis starting next year. It still might be a questionable switch but perhaps a breath of fresh air will be beneficial.

All of these rapid moves within the last 24 hours mean that NASCAR sees few openings now. However, that doesn’t mean those openings are not very notable.

Related: Joe Gibbs Racing will change the No. 18 to No. 54 car

NASCAR: Organizations with open rides for 2023

Syndication: The Des Moines Register
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jack Wood (24) races during the Clean Harbors 150 presented by Premier Chevy Dealers, Saturday, June 18, 2022, at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. 220618 Nascar Trucks Ia 034 Jpg

While the question of Joe Gibbs Racing’s lineup in the NASCAR Cup Series is answered, the questions surrounding the NASCAR Xfinity Series remain a mystery at this point.

It seems reasonable to suggest the organization will continue with three full-time cars as two full-time drivers take entries while the other entry is combined up part-time drivers.

Sammy Smith and John Hunter Nemechek should be those two drivers but nothing has been made official. It makes too much sense for everyone to have Smith and Nemechek on a full-time basis while another vehicle is full-time with multiple drivers.

Meanwhile, there are some smaller moves such as Sam Hunt Racing and Jordan Anderson Racing having openings. Sam Hunt Racing could represent a playoff berth for the right driver in full-time equipment.

There are also some other teams in the Xfinity Series with open rides. Moving to the NASCAR Truck Series, the main rides available at this point seem to be GMS Racing, Hattori Racing Enterprises, and possibly Spire Motorsports.

GMS Racing has stated its intentions to expand the Truck Series program while Hattori Racing Enterprises has the No. 61 truck left vacant as Chase Purdy left to join Kyle Busch Motorsports on a full-time basis.

Plus, the No. 7 truck for Spire Motorsports has been appealing to drivers but it was only run on a part-time basis last season. Could the organization move to full-time and pick someone up?

These appear to be the main questions as silly season begins to wrap up throughout the sport. There are still unanswered questions and it will be interesting to see them play out.