NASCAR silly season has been heating up with the recent announcements of Martin Truex Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the 2023 season and it’s not going to slow down.
Let’s dive into the official silly season predictions for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Single-car organizations
- Jimmy Means Racing: No. 52 (Multiple Drivers) (PT)
- Bassett Racing: No. 77 (Multiple Drivers) (PT)
- Jesse Iwuji Motorsports: No. 34 (Multiple Drivers)
- Jeremy Clements Racing: No. 51 Jeremy Clements
- Brandonbilt Motorsports: No. 68 Brandon Brown
- Big Machine Racing: No. 48 Trevor Bayne
- Stewart-Haas Racing: No. 98 Riley Herbst
Starting off the predictions is Jimmy Means Racing. They will come back on a part-time basis with multiple drivers while Bassett Racing continues its current operations with part-time events from Dillon Bassett and Ronnie Bassett Jr.
Moving on to full-time entries, Jesse Iwuji Motorsports has run both Jesse Iwuji and Kyle Weatherman during the 2022 NASCAR season and expect much of the same for next season.
Iwuji will run a few races but Weatherman will run the majority of the races next season. It will be a good opportunity for Weatherman to prove his worth and jump to a bigger ride in 2024.
Both Jeremy Clements and Brandon Brown will return to their respective rides next year. There should be little doubt about it and they’ll both look to make another step in the right direction.
Big Machine Racing lands a big fish in Trevor Bayne after the organization has shown success during the 2022 season. Tyler Reddick won a race in the No. 48 car and proved the cars are capable of winning.
Bayne will help bring them more consistency and possibly wins after an impressive stint that’s still not done with Joe Gibbs Racing. The 31-year-old driver still wants to race and he’ll get that opportunity.
Finally, Riley Herbst returns to the No. 98 car and Stewart-Haas Racing. Herbst has been impressive this season and should be on the verge of winning a race eventually.
It makes sense for both sides to continue the partnership. Preece might have been considered for a second seat, but they’ll continue with one car next season.
NASCAR TV ratings during the 2022 season
NASCAR: Smaller two-car operations
- Mike Harmon Racing: No. 47 (Multiple Drivers) (PT), No. 74 (Multiple Drivers)
- MBM Motorsports: No. 13 (Multiple Drivers) (PT), No. 66 (Multiple Drivers)
- Emerling-Gase Motorsports: No. 35 (Multiple Drivers), No. 53 (Multiple Drivers) (PT)
- SS Green Light Racing: No. 07 Joe Graf Jr., No. 08 (Multiple Drivers)
- JD Motorsports: No. 4 Bayley Currey, No. 6 Ryan Vargas
- Alpha Prime Racing: No. 44 Stefan Parsons, No. 45 (Multiple Drivers)
- Jordan Anderson Racing: No. 31 Myatt Snider, No. 37 (Multiple Drivers) (PT)
Mike Harmon Racing, MBM Motorsports, and Emerling-Gase Motorsports will all continue to run multiple drivers during the course of the 2023 NASCAR season. The numbers above are self-explanatory.
Digging into the deeper teams, Joe Graf Jr. returns for another year in the No. 07 car as he looks to improve upon his performances from this season. Meanwhile, the No. 08 car continues to be full-time with multiple drivers.
The safe bet with JD Motorsports is Bayley Currey and Ryan Vargas returning to their respective rides. It has been a disappointing season for both drivers but they each get another year to improve.
Alpha Prime Racing currently runs two full-time cars, but Stefan Parsons will jump into the No. 44 car on a weekly basis starting in 2023. The No. 45 car will be the car with multiple drivers.
Some of those drivers will include Ryan Ellis and Rajah Caruth, who will each run more races than the 2022 season. Both have been impressive in their limited starts.
The most notable out of the group will be Jordan Anderson Racing. While Myatt Snider returns to the No. 31 car next season, the organization will launch a second car on a part-time basis to expand their NASCAR involvement.
Snider brings sponsorship to cover the No. 31 car so it allows Jordan Anderson Racing to run a second car for drivers, such as NASCAR Cup Series regulars, to help improve the cars even more.
Richard Childress Racing and Kaulig Racing
- Richard Childress Racing: No. 2 Sheldon Creed, No. 21 Austin Hill
- Kaulig Racing: No. 11 Landon Cassill, No. 16 A.J. Allmendinger
Richard Childress Racing seems pretty set for next season despite the significant struggles from Sheldon Creed in 2022. Austin Hill has been more impressive and will probably pick up another win this year.
Creed needs a win to make the playoffs while Hill is already locked in due to his victory at Daytona in February. Obviously, being 17th in the point standings will raise some eyebrows, but Creed will get another shot easily.
Kaulig Racing will downsize from three to two entries after they acquired a third charter for the NASCAR Cup Series in our previous silly season predictions a few weeks ago.
With Hemric moving to Kaulig Racing’s Cup Series organization full-time, it allows Landon Cassill to slide from the No. 10 car to the No. 11 car. It seems unlikely that Kaulig would completely scrap the No. 11 car.
Overall, these two organizations will improve next season after both have been down slightly. It will be interesting to see how they both bounce back overall in 2023.
NASCAR: Smaller three-car operations
- Our Motorsports: No. 02 Brett Moffitt, No. 23 Anthony Alfredo, No. 27 Jeb Burton
- RSS Racing: No. 28 (Multiple Drivers) (PT), No. 38 (Multiple Drivers), No. 39 Ryan Sieg
- DGM Racing: No. 36 Alex Labbe, No. 91 (Multiple Drivers), No. 92 (Multiple Drivers (PT)
- B.J. McLeod Motorsports: No. 5 (Multiple Drivers), No. 78 Josh Williams, No. 99 Nick Sanchez
Our Motorsports starts off the smaller three-car operations section. Our Motorsports is not small in nature, but without a win yet, it’s safe to say there is a jump to be made soon.
Brett Moffitt will return to the No. 02 car looking to improve even more next season. Anthony Alfredo returns to pilot the No. 23 car as he is just on par with Moffitt in the points. Both drivers will look to seek their first wins.
Meanwhile, Jeb Burton returns to the No. 27 car in a contract year after being the lowest Our Motorsports car at the time of this publishing. Burton is the highest driver in points without a top-10 finish.
Burton has some work to do to get on the same level as his teammates consistently but his contract will give him another year to reach those goals that have been set for him.
RSS Racing will continue the same structure as the 2022 NASCAR season. Ryan Sieg continues full-time in the No. 39 car while drivers, such as Kyle Sieg, drive the No. 28 and No. 38 cars.
However, the No. 28 car will be the part-time car while the No. 38 car continue as the full-time car with multiple drivers as a way to give them opportunities.
DGM Racing will field Alex Labbe in the No. 36 car full-time after Labbe finds sponsorship for every race. The No. 91 car continues as the full-time car with multiple drivers while the No. 92 car is strictly part-time.
Finally, B.J. McLeod Motorsports will field the No. 5 car full-time with multiple drivers. Ryan Preece will be the main driver, but others will run a few races next season.
Josh Williams returns to the No. 78 car full-time, but most notably, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez will drive the No. 99 car on a full-time basis after select starts with the organization this season.
Sanchez has two ARCA Menards Series victories and has been impressive in some events. The 21-year-old driver will get a nice opportunity to improve his driving abilities.
- JR Motorsports: No. 1 Sam Mayer, No. 7 Justin Allgaier, No. 8 Josh Berry, No. 9 (Multiple Drivers)
JR Motorsports “absolutely” wants to enter the NASCAR Cup Series, but that move will be reserved for now as the team continues its four-car operation in the Xfinity Series.
Mayer is on the verge of winning and will return to the No. 1 car next year while teammate Justin Allgaier continues his winning ways in the No. 7 car for another season.
Josh Berry wants to move up to the Cup Series one day, but the 2023 season will see him back at JR Motorsports in the No. 8 car as he looks to improve to a true championship contender.
Berry would be an excellent choice if JR Motorsports decides to move to the Cup Series and it’s hard to think Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not feel the same way.
With the prediction that Noah Gragson heads to the Cup Series full-time, the No. 9 car becomes what the No. 8 car was for years until Josh Berry took over.
The No. 9 car will stay full-time, but multiple drivers will run it over the course of the 2023 season. Who are some drivers that could receive the privilege to drive for JR Motorsports?
Carson Kvapil and Derek Kraus will be two notable drivers that make select Xfinity Series starts in the No. 9 car for JR Motorsports. Very bold predictions, but that’s the name of the game with silly season.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Sam Hunt Racing
- Joe Gibbs Racing: No. 18 Sammy Smith, No. 19 Brandon Jones, No. 20 (Multiple Drivers) (PT), No. 54 Ty Gibbs
- Sam Hunt Racing: No. 24 (Multiple Drivers) (PT), No. 26 John Hunter Nemechek
Joe Gibbs Racing and Sam Hunt Racing round out the final section of our NASCAR Xfinity Series predictions. Both will see changes and let’s start with the top Toyota Racing organization.
Sammy Smith will drive the No. 18 car on a full-time basis with Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Smith is running eight races during the second half of the 2022 season, including the final two events.
The 18-year-old driver will find victory lane in one of those starts and secure the No. 18 car on a full-time basis. It doesn’t make sense to run him part-time in the Xfinity Series and not make him the full-time driver.
Brandon Jones will return to the No. 19 car next season, as usual. Jones won at Martinsville and has been pretty solid for the organization during the 2022 NASCAR season.
Surprisingly, Joe Gibbs Racing will bring back the No. 20 car but only on a part-time basis. Four full-time Xfinity Series cars are not worthwhile and a part-time entry shouldn’t be too bad.
Ty Gibbs will return, as expected, for his second full-time season in the No. 54 car. Gibbs has no avenue for a full-time Cup Series ride at Joe Gibbs Racing and they want him to stay in the Xfinity Series.
Sam Hunt Racing will finally land a full-time driver with John Hunter Nemechek as he has run well with the organization. Nemechek can definitely find his way to victory lane in the No. 26 car.
Because Nemechek is predicted to go full-time, the organization launches a second car on a part-time basis to field more young talent from the lower series. It works out well as Nemechek brings some sponsorship.
Concluding thoughts on NASCAR Xfinity Series silly season
The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series silly season will be really fun to watch play out. There are drivers that deserve rides and some openings that could be turned into full-time opportunities.
As the young drivers within the series develop, it will be interesting to watch how the rides evolve over time. It’s a fun series during silly season and certainly provides drama.
It could be even more unpredictable as some of these were safe predictions. Either way, answers will be coming on short notice as teams look to sure up their lineups for the 2023 season and beyond.