NASCAR: Only one driver change has been confirmed for 2023

Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Silly season has presented some crazy storylines so far in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, yet only one driver change has been confirmed.

This year’s NASCAR Cup Series silly season has been loaded with interesting storylines involving some of the sport’s top drivers and teams.

Joe Gibbs Racing have been a key focal point, with Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. facing uncertain futures. Busch made cryptic comments about his future — or lack thereof — behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota with longtime primary sponsor M&M’s leaving after the 2022 season, and Truex has admitted that he isn’t sure if he wants to return to the #19 Toyota in 2023.

There have been several other storylines to follow as well.

Will Ricky Stenhouse Jr. be back at JTG Daugherty Racing? Will the team sell their charter? Where will Petty GMS Motorsports’ Erik Jones, who has quietly become one of the top free agents on the market, end up? What will Kaulig Racing do about their second seat? Is rookie Harrison Burton already on the hot seat at Wood Brothers Racing?

The list of storylines could go on and on.

But all in all, four months into the 2022 season, only one driver change has been confirmed — and interestingly enough, that driver change was announced before the season even began.

That one change involves Stewart-Haas Racing. Before the 2022 season began, Aric Almirola announced that it would be his fifth and final season behind the wheel of the #10 Ford and his 15th and final season competing at the sport’s top level.

Even this particular change hasn’t been fully confirmed. While we know for a fact that Almirola isn’t returning for 2023, his replacement hasn’t been announced and probably won’t be announced for several months.

There has, of course, been other significant silly season action, but nothing else has involved any sort of change. There have been two new deals signed for next year, though only one of those two deals was actually announced during the 2022 season.

Just before the start of the season, Chase Elliott signed a five-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports to continue driving the #9 Chevrolet through the 2027 season.

Then a few months into the season, William Byron signed a three-year extension with the team to continue driving the #24 Chevrolet through the 2025 season.

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So when will the dominoes start to fall, and whose domino will be the next one to go down? The possibilities are endless, given all of the uncertainty that still exists regarding next year’s driver lineup.