NASCAR Cup Series adding one more full-time driver?

Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

There is still a chance that the NASCAR Cup Series season will land another full-time driver for the 2023 season, which would bring the total to 34.

There are 36 chartered entries in the NASCAR Cup Series, and 33 have confirmed full-time drivers for the 2023 season, including two which had served as rotational rides during the 2022 season.

The No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet is set to be driven full-time by A.J. Allmendinger, one of the car’s part-time drivers in 2022, and the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet is set to be driven full-time by former Petty GMS Motorsports driver Ty Dillon.

One of the three chartered entries with an open seat is already locked into being a rotational ride. The No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford-turned-Chevrolet is once again set to be driven by team co-owner B.J. McLeod in select races, and Josh Bilicki, who drove the No. 77 Chevrolet part-time last year, is confirmed for four events.

That leaves two entries without confirmed drivers for 2023, both at Rick Ware Racing: the No. 15 Ford and the No. 51 Ford.

While it is highly unlikely that the No. 15 Ford, which saw six drivers throughout the 2022 season, will be anything other than a rotational ride once again, there is a good chance that the No. 51 Ford will be driven by the sport’s 34th and final full-time driver in 2023.

Cody Ware drove full-time for his father’s team for the first time in 2022, though he missed the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval late in the season as a result of an ankle injury he suffered in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks prior.

Should he return in a full-time capacity in 2023, the sport’s full-time lineup would be set with 34 drivers, with the remaining two chartered entries continuing to serve as rotational rides.

If he only returns in a part-time capacity, then the lineup is already set with 33. If he doesn’t return at all, which isn’t likely in itself, it remains to be seen whether Rick Ware Racing will find another part-time driver or simply run two rotational rides.

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The 65th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to get the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season underway on Sunday, February 19. Fox is set to broadcast the race live from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.