NASCAR: Two cars that now have full-time drivers for 2023

A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Two cars that weren’t driven by full-time drivers during the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season now have full-time drivers for 2023.

The full-time driver lineup is set for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. It was recently announced that Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware is set to return for a second full season as the driver of the No. 51 Ford.

That announcement brought the full-time driver total to 34, but Front Row Motorsports’ decision to have Zane Smith run select races behind the wheel of the No. 38 Ford, which was to be driven full-time by Todd Gilliland for a second straight season, brought that number back down to 33.

Despite the fact that there are still 36 chartered entries, there were just 32 full-time drivers during the 36-race 2022 season, of whom only 27 actually competed in all 36 races on the schedule. Five missed time for various reasons.

Although Front Row Motorsports now have just one full-time driver instead of two, the full-time driver total is up to 33 in 2023 because of the fact that two full-time chartered entries which were once driven by multiple drivers are now set to be driven by a single full-time driver.

Those two NASCAR Cup Series entries are the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.

Kaulig Racing entered the Cup Series in 2020 with the No. 16 Chevrolet, competing in just one race, and ran a partial schedule in 2021 with three drivers. They acquired two charters before the 2022 season and expanded to two cars, naming Justin Haley the full-time driver of the new No. 31 Chevrolet, but they continued to run multiple drivers behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric all spent time behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet in 2022. Allmendinger and Hemric both competed full-time for Matt Kaulig’s Xfinity Series team, while Gragson competed for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series.

In 2023, Allmendinger is set to become the full-time driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet. Haley is set for a second season behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet. Hemric is set to remain within the organization in the Xfinity Series while Gragson is set to compete for Legacy Motor Club full-time in the Cup Series.

Spire Motorsports, on the other hand, entered the Cup Series in 2019 with the No. 77 Chevrolet. They have run a full schedule with that car every year, but always with multiple drivers. They added the No. 7 Chevrolet in 2021, and Corey LaJoie has driven the car full-time ever since, but the No. 77 Chevrolet has continued to operate with multiple part-time drivers.

In 2022, the No. 77 Chevrolet’s primary drivers were Josh Bilicki and Landon Cassill, with Justin Allgaier and Mike Rockenfeller also making select appearances. But in 2023, Ty Dillon, the driver whom Gragson is set to replace at the team formerly known as Petty GMS Motorsports, is set to drive the No. 77 Chevrolet full-time.

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The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 19. The 65th annual Daytona 500 is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss any of the on-track action throughout the upcoming week!