Will Joe Gibbs Racing bring back its flagship NASCAR Cup Series number?

The No. 18 is the team's most storied number

NASCAR: Cup Championship
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When Joe Gibbs Racing first debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series, it was in the 1992 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett behind the wheel of the No. 18.

That was the flagship entry for 30 years across stints that featured Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, JJ Yeley and Kyle Busch. Labonte won the 2000 Cup Series championship while Busch claimed championships in 2015 and 2019.

Then Busch departed for Richard Childress Racing and was replaced by the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, Ty Gibbs, who retained the No. 54 he used in the Xfinity Series. It’s worth mentioning that the younger Gibbs raced a No. 18 while coming up the ranks in Late Model Stock Cars too.

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It’s all to say there was some expectation that the No. 18 never would have went away in the first place and that conversation has come up again with the impending retirement of Martin Truex Jr. and his replacement in Chase Briscoe.

In addition to retaining crew chief James Small and sponsor Bass Pro Shops, Briscoe will also drive the No. 19 next season, meaning it’s another year that Joe Gibbs Racing’s flagship number will remain on the shelf.

And speaking during a press event introducing Briscoe to the organization, Gibbs says nothing has been discussed about the No. 18 either.

“We’ve always have talks about stuff like that, but I don’t think it fit in this situation,” Gibbs said. “We’re 19 now and Johnny [Morris of Bass Pro Shops] loves it, so I think that has a big influence too.”

It’s basically brand equity for Bass Pro Shops, which has adorned the No. 19 since 2019 when Truex and his longtime partner came over from the shuttered Furniture Row Motorsports.

“I think somewhere in the future I guess we [would consider it],” Gibbs said. “But that one I haven’t thought through, I’ll put it that way.”

Christopher Bell drives the No. 20 first introduced for Tony Stewart in 2000 and later piloted by Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones. The No. 19 was first unveiled in 2015 for Carl Edwards and later piloted by Daniel Suarez and Truex.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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