Fox NASCAR Insider
I am right here to get you match-ready on Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. You want a primer for whoever has new numbers for 2023 when the inexperienced flag drops (5 p.m. EST; 8 p.m. EST, MAIN EVENT, FOX). Or it is advisable talk about with your pals who made the most effective low season transfer.
So with out additional ado, listed here are my rankings for the 2023 modifications. They are going to be in two components. The primary is the drivers with new groups. The second is the drivers who stayed with their staff however modified crew chiefs.
Drivers within the new groups:
1. Tyler Reddick – 23XI Racing No. 45
Riddick gained three races final yr at Richard Childress Racing and joined a staff led by Billy Scott, an unknown crew chief who has labored with each veterans (Kurt Busch) and drivers who’ve realized inventory vehicles (Danica Patrick). Scott gained a race final yr with Bosch, and has performed a job within the improvement of the next-generation automobile. Reddick is able to thrive as he joins a assured staff and a staff whose season was turned the wrong way up when Bosh suffered a concussion.
2. Kyle Bush – Richard Childress Racing No. 8
Busch is changing Reddick at RCR and can little question be in comparison with Reddick, as Reddick heads to Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota staff, which let Busch stroll away as contract negotiations hit a useless finish final summer time. Busch joins the staff that gained three races amid final yr’s turmoil and a staff that comes into its personal with Randall Burnett as crew chief. The large query is whether or not RCR is usually a stylish group and problem for victories and championships. Busch would play a serious position in making this occur, and neither Busch nor Childress are recognized for his or her persistence.
Bush talks about his transfer to RCR
Kyle Busch says he is spent the break getting many little issues that fall so far as his transfer to Richard Childress.
3. AJ Alminder – Kaulig Racing No. 16
That is type of a “new” duo since Allmendinger drove in 18 Cup races final yr for Faculty. His 5 finest appearances and eight high 10 finishes present he can carry out at cup degree. Together with his energy on highway programs and his enchancment on the ovals, Allmendinger will seemingly have a breakout Cup season 5 years after leaving JTG Daugherty Racing with out a clear path to using for the Cup once more. All the pieces is in place for this staff to have a stable season, contemplating Allmendinger is already used to working with the staff led by crew chief Matt Swiderski.
4. Ty Gibbs – Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54
Rookie Gibbs, grandson of staff proprietor Joe Gibbs, changed Kyle Busch within the No. 18 automobile. He is actually Cup prepared, or as prepared as any driver – at the very least from a expertise standpoint. His questionable selections at instances final yr may have folks questioning if he can deal with the pains of a cup schedule. It will be unfair to foretell Kyle Busch’s numbers in Season 1. Actually, he could be, that means Kyle Busch was twentieth in factors as a starter. Gibbs has been within the high 10 of the 15 beginning gamers to interchange the injured Kurt Busch final yr at 23XI. Good factor for Gibbs – he has crew chief Chris Gayle, who has Cup expertise, going with him from the Xfinity Collection to the Cup.
Gibbs about transferring into the Cup position full-time
Ty Gibbs describes what he thinks would be the greatest problem when transferring into Cup racing full-time.
5. Ryan Preece Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41
Preece replaces Cole Custer within the SHR Cup lineup and has a crew chief – Chad Johnston – that he and the staff had been conversant in as Johnston was the crew chief for Preece’s successful vans the final two years and he was a former crew chief for Tony Stewart at SHR. Press Bryce to carry out. However this group might have a bit of time to kick in, and SHR has struggled. If the modifications to Ford’s nostril assist the staff’s competitiveness, it may very well be key to seeing if I obtained it improper and Preece ought to have been ranked larger.
Bryce dishes for the subsequent season
Ryan Preece discusses his relationship with crew chief Chad Johnston, future prospects, and proving himself in Stuart Haas.
6. Noah Gragson – Legacy Motor Membership No. 42
Gragson is transferring on from the JR Motorsports Xfinity program to interchange Ty Dillon at what was Petty GMS. He introduced in his Xfinity crew chief Luke Lambert, who has a number of years’ expertise main a Trophy crew. However that staff has struggled previously yr and is now in one other transitional part with the arrival of Jimmy Johnson as co-owner. Johnson’s presence and management may help enhance a staff – however not essentially instantly. Gragson has had one of many high 10 finishes in his 18 Cup begins final yr driving choose races for Hendrick Motorsports (as a alternative for the injured Alex Bowman), Coolig and Fowl.
Noah Gragson talks about working with Jimmie Johnson
Gragson has an ideal milestone in Johnson as he enters his Nationwide Cup rookie season.
7. Ty Dillon – Spire Motorsports No. 77
Dillon solely managed one High 10 at Petty GMS final yr as he, the staff and the rookie crew chief did not click on. 9 races wherein he did not end positively did not assist issues. The hope is that his begin within the 2020 Cup will assist Spire. There’s an opportunity for that, however for Dillon to get a mean end inside the highest 20 there are going to be questions.
not obtainable. Jimmy Johnson – Legacy Motor Membership No. 84
Properly, it is in all probability only a five-race deal however we won’t rule out the seven-time champ returning to the Cup Collection with a small possession stake however an enormous management position in what was as soon as Petty GMS and now the Legacy Motor Membership. He is obtained former champion Joey Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon making the selections. So simply how good will it’s? I’ll decrease expectations. That is nonetheless a younger group. Choosing the highest 10 gamers could be an excellent begin.
Similar driver and new crew chief:
1. Alex Bowman – Blake Harris
Bowman is essentially the most profitable driver on this checklist and drives for the most effective staff (Hendrick) on this checklist. Harris, who changed Greg Ives, comes after a profitable one-year stint as crew chief for Michael McDowell and a number of other years at JGR and Furnishings Row. The important thing on this relationship is trusting that they’re doing the precise factor and in one another as nicely.
2. Austin Dillon – Keith Rhoden
Rhoden’s appointment as Dillon’s crew chief as Justin Alexander’s alternative was a little bit of a shock however may very well be an ideal transfer. Rodden has expertise as a crew chief working for a number of organizations (he was crew chief for Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray) and most just lately labored for Chevrolet. He is aware of tips on how to deal with drivers and is aware of tips on how to work underneath strain, which is actually the case if you’re the crew chief for the grandson of a staff proprietor.
3. Michael McDowell Travis Peterson
McDowell clearly did not need to lose Harris, and they’ll now go along with engineer Peterson, who was most just lately at RFK Racing and previously at JR Motorsports and Hendrick. Their success will rely upon whether or not Peterson can implement modifications to enhance the automobile based mostly on McDowell’s suggestions and whether or not he can take the calculated dangers in racing technique that’s typically required for a corporation that doesn’t have the funding for bigger groups.
McDowell on his new chief of employees
Michael McDowell, who may have a brand new crew chief for the second yr in a row, discusses what he is on the lookout for from Travis Peterson.
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Mike Kelly
Kelly was already working for JTG Daugherty Racing in a contest advisor position, and now he’ll take over as Stenhouse’s crew chief. The duo had magic within the Xfinity Collection a decade in the past as Stenhouse gained back-to-back titles. They could not repeat that within the Roche Cup. What would possibly make this example even higher is that Stenhouse is the one driver for JTG, to allow them to tailor the automobile particularly to his desires and desires.
5. Todd Gilliland – Ryan Bergenty
Bergenty has been McDowell’s chief of employees for the previous three years and now takes over as Gilliland’s crew chief, changing Seth Barbour, who moved to the staff’s head coach. Gilliland has talked about how he needs to be higher at beginning a race weekend and discovering the tempo wanted in 20 minutes of apply – and Bergente will play a key position. However these items do not normally flip round shortly.
6. Cody Ware – Jerry Kelly
Weir Kelly, the longtime chief of vehicles at Penske, will grow to be his crew chief beginning this yr. Ware has proven enchancment previously yr, and if Kelley brings in some concepts from Penske that may be utilized to Rick Ware Racing vehicles, there’s an opportunity Ware will proceed to place up higher numbers.
Bob Pokeras covers NASCAR for FOX Sports activities. He has spent many years overlaying motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene, and The (Daytona Seashore) Information-Journal. Comply with him on Twitter @bobocrassand subscribe to FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pokras.
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