Bubba Wallace will run the No. 45 for the remainder of the NASCAR Cup Series sseason as 23XI Racing focuses on competing for the owners’ championship.
The No. 45 is eligible for the owners’ championship because Kurt Busch and the team won at Kansas Speedway in May. Even though Busch has not driven the car since June, when he was sidelined with a concussion from a crash in qualifying at Pocono Raceway, the car number qualified for the owners’ championship playoff.
With the number switch, Ty Gibbs, who continues to serve as Busch’s substitute, will now drive the No. 23.
“After consulting with NASCAR, we made this decision in the best interest of the entire organization and for all our employees who helped earn a spot in the playoffs for the owners’ championship through their hard work,” said 23XI Racing team president Steve Lauletta. “While Ty [Gibbs] has done a great job for us in the No. 45 car, we feel that Bubba’s experience in this car, at the upcoming playoff tracks, and his recent momentum will give 23XI the best chance at maximizing our points each weekend. We recognize that this is a unique opportunity in the Cup Series, and we’re grateful to our employees and partners for standing with the team and supporting this decision.”
The car number switch for Wallace and Gibbs begins this weekend at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500 (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, USA).
There will be no sponsor or personnel changes associated with the switch. Wallace will continue to compete with his normal team and crew chief Bootie Barker but with a different number. The same applies to Gibbs as he works with Busch’s team and crew chief Billy Scott.