NASCAR: Major domino could trigger several changes

The confirmation of 23XI Racing’s purchase of a second charter for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season could lead to several more charter announcements.

After several months of discussing expansion for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, 23XI Racing confirmed the addition of a second car for next year in late August.

They also confirmed that Kurt Busch, who was due to be out of a ride with Chip Ganassi Racing being sold to Trackhouse Racing Team after the 2021 season, would pilot this second entry, the #45 Toyota, alongside Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the #23 Toyota next year.

What they did not confirm was a second charter for this #45 Toyota. They were later reported to have reached an agreement to purchase one from Front Row Motorsports, but that deal ultimately fell through.

Team co-owner Denny Hamlin even conceded that the team may be forced to run with just one charter next year, though he confirmed that they would be a two-car, full-time effort either way.

But they did ultimately end up securing a charter for Busch’s car.

Interestingly, it was somewhat of a surprise how they pulled it off. Before the 2021 season ended, it was reported that StarCom Racing would be shutting down and thus selling their charter for next year, but the reported buyer was Spire Motorsports.

Spire Motorsports owned three charters in the 2021 season, one of which was leased out to Trackhouse Racing Team. But the two-car team sold two of those three charters, including the one that they had leased out, to Kaulig Racing for next year, leaving them with just one. So it made sense for them to pursue a second charter.

However, much like 23XI Racing’s deal with Front Row Motorsports, this deal also fell through.

And who was there to capitalize? 23XI Racing.

Among the teams still looking for charters for 2022, 23XI Racing definitely had the most eyes on them, but now this is no longer a concern.

The fact that this confirmation is now out of the way could trigger a few others.

Believe it or not, there are still teams looking for charters for next year. Given what happened with StarCom Racing, we know that Spire Motorsports are still looking for another one, and we know that GMS Racing, which plan to enter the Cup Series for the first time next year, are looking for one as well.

We also know that the four-car Rick Ware Racing team plan to downsize to two cars in 2022, meaning that another two charters could still be on the move.

But while Rick Ware Racing technically ran four charters in 2021, they only own three, as the #51 team is run using a charter from Richard Petty Motorsports.

They have indicated that the #51 car is set to be one of their two cars next year, though that car could easily be run using one of the team’s own charters instead of the one from Richard Petty’s team.

Rick Ware Racing had said before the 2021 season ended that they were open to selling or leasing out one of their charters, so a second charter transaction would have to involve the one technically owned by Richard Petty Motorsports. This remains to be seen and is still somewhat of a gray area.

With that having been said, both Rick Ware Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports are, in fact, in talks with the teams looking for charters.

Once the dust settles on the charter situations involving these four teams, the field should be solidified as it pertains to the 36 chartered entries for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. The season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, February 20 with the 64th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.