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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Noah Gragson, NASCAR
Noah Gragson, Petty GMS Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Top NASCAR driver moves for 2023: No. 1 – Noah Gragson

It’s obviously hard to compare a driver who has never competed full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series to drivers such as Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch, but in terms of the addition itself, Petty GMS Motorsports, now Legacy Motor Club, made the best move of the offseason by bringing in Noah Gragson.

Gragson, who led the Xfinity Series in victories with eight, including four in a row at one point, in 2022, is replacing the Spire Motorsports-bound Ty Dillon behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet.

There are a few things that make this the move of the offseason.

First of all, Legacy Motor Club are clearly a team on the rise. Following the merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and GMS Racing, the latter of which had never before competed in the Cup Series, Erik Jones delivered Richard Petty’s organization their first win in more than eight years by winning the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

While Jones didn’t qualify for the playoffs, he actually finished the regular season in the top 16 in the point standings, and the fact that he won a race shows that this is a team more than capable of advancing to the postseason — and advancing once they get there.

Secondly, Dillon simply wasn’t getting the job done. He finished a whopping 313 points behind Jones in the championship standings (831 to 518). That isn’t exactly a small gap.

Legacy Motor Club signing arguably the top young driver available to try to close that gap was the absolute best-case scenario. Gragson does have some Cup Series experience as well, having competed part-time for Beard Motorsports and Kaulig Racing throughout the 2022 season, so the transition shouldn’t be too difficult.