Five driver lineup announcements have been made for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season this year, and there are surely more to come.
Last week was a big week in this year’s NASCAR Cup Series silly season, as multiple drivers who had been without deals for 2023 were confirmed for next year.
Prior to last week, only one driver had signed a new deal for 2023 since the 2022 season began, though there were multiple confirmations made for 2023 just before the 2022 season began as well.
All in all, five confirmations have been made regarding the 2023 driver lineup since the year began. Interestingly, none of them involve drivers moving to new teams. One is a retirement and four are contract extensions.
Here is a list of those five driver lineup confirmations for 2023.
1. Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing
Before the 2022 season began, Aric Almirola announced that it would be his last. He is in his 15th season in the Cup Series and fifth behind the wheel of the #10 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. However, the team have not yet confirmed his replacement, and they will likely not do so for another few months. Almirola leaving the #10 Ford is the only confirmed driver change for 2023 thus far.
2. Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports
Also before the 2022 season began, Hendrick Motorsports and Chase Elliott reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension to keep the 2020 champion behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet through the 2027 season. He had been under contract through 2022 since signing an extension in June 2017.
3. William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports
William Byron also entered the 2022 season in a contract year, and he was in somewhat of a “prove it” situation. But after Byron became the first driver to win two races in 2022, he and Hendrick Motorsports reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension to keep him behind the wheel of the #24 Chevrolet through the 2025 season. He had been under contract through 2022 since September 2020.
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing
Earlier in the season, there was speculation that JTG Daugherty Racing could possibly sell their charter and shut down after the 2022 season, leaving Ricky Stenhouse Jr. without a ride for 2023. However, after a rocky start to the year, Stenhouse turned things around, and he was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension to continue driving the #47 Chevrolet.
5. Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing
Following months of speculation that he might retire, Martin Truex Jr. confirmed last week that he will not retire yet and that he is set to return to Joe Gibbs Raing for a fifth year behind the wheel of the #19 Toyota in 2023.
There are still several seats open in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup, meaning that more confirmations are surely on the way. When will the first official driver change be confirmed for next year?