NASCAR: Top 5 driver changes for the 2023 season

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kyle Busch, NASCAR
Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Top NASCAR driver moves for 2023: No. 3 – Kyle Busch

A year ago, nobody thought it was possible that Kyle Busch could end up in anything other than the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, even with his contract due to expire and longtime sponsor M&M’s leaving at the end of the 2022 season.

Even Busch initially stated that if a new deal didn’t get done, he didn’t necessarily see his Cup Series career continuing.

How quickly things can change.

Busch has joined Richard Childress Racing as the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet, replacing Tyler Reddick. Richard Childress Racing reportedly began to pursue Busch for 2023 after Reddick announced that he would be joining 23XI Racing and Toyota in 2024, a move that supposedly caught Richard Childress’s team off guard.

In fact, it was Austin Dillon who reportedly orchestrated the move to get Busch to his grandfather’s team, convincing the two-time champion that Childress would be open to the possibility — and open to burying the hatchet from an incident that took place more than a decade prior.

But what makes this move a good one not just for Richard Childress Racing but for Busch is the fact that the 37-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native was in need of a change in scenery after 15 years at Joe Gibbs Racing.

He hasn’t had a great season since winning the championship in 2019, and even that title sort of masked what had been a lackluster second half of the year. He wouldn’t even have made the playoffs in 2022 if not for a fluke last-lap collision in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which resulted in him leading just one lap and winning.

While Richard Childress Racing haven’t quite been on the level of Joe Gibbs Racing in recent years, that changed in a big way with the introduction of the Gen 7 car. The former won four races with two drivers in 2022 while the latter, excluding Busch from the tally, won just five with three.