NASCAR Cup Series silly season is well underway, but there are still quite a few notable drivers who don’t yet have deals to compete in 2023.
After several months of speculation, rumors, and headlines, NASCAR Cup Series silly season officially got underway toward the end of June when JTG Daugherty Racing announced that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is set to return to the team on a multi-year extension and Martin Truex Jr. announced that he has opted to return to Joe Gibbs Racing instead of retiring.
The only other announcements for 2023 so far this year include the announcement that Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola is set to retire after the 2022 season and the announcements that both Chase Elliott and William Byron have signed deals to return to Hendrick Motorsports.
As a result, there are still quite a few active drivers who are competing without deals to compete beyond the conclusion of the 2022 season. Here are the top five.
NOTE: This list includes only drivers currently competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Top NASCAR Cup Series free agents for 2023: No. 5 – Michael McDowell
Michael McDowell is in his fifth season behind the wheel of the #34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports, and while he doesn’t have a win this year like he did last year, he is still in the midst of a career year.
Halfway through the season, McDowell already has seven top 10 finishes. Before 2022, he had never recorded more than five top 10 finishes in a single season. He has six top nine finishes in the last 10 races alone.
Whether McDowell signs a new deal to return to the #34 Ford remains to be seen, especially with Zane Smith performing at a high level for Front Row Motorsports’ Truck Series team and proving himself as a driver with Cup Series potential. But the 37-year-old Phoenix, Arizona is driving at the highest level of his career in the opening season of the Gen 7 car.