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NASCAR’s driver movement for the 2022 season

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 2022-01-18

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The 2022 NASCAR season begins in a few weeks and most of the driver movement during silly season has wrapped up. What are the new entries for the NASCAR Cup Series as we enter the season?

Notable NASCAR drivers changing organizations

Out of every driver who is in a new car this year, Brad Keselowski is the most-notable name to switch rides. Keselowski, 37, has moved on from Team Penske to drive the No. 6 car for RFK Racing in 2022 and beyond.

The 37-year-old driver will be running full-time as a driver/owner after he became a minority owner of the team. Keselowski will be paired with crew chief Matt McCall for the 2022 season.

Another NASCAR champion that changed organizations is Kurt Busch as he joins 23XI Racing in the No. 45 car . Busch, 43, joined the team after Chip Ganassi Racing sold its operations to Trackhouse Racing .

Busch will also be reunited with his former crew chief Billy Scott. The two were a pair at Stewart-Haas Racing during the 2018 season when they won at Bristol Motor Speedway in August of that year.

Related: NASCAR’s significant changes for 2022 season

As mentioned above, Busch moved on from Chip Ganassi after their sale to Trackhouse left them with no stake in NASCAR. However, his teammate decided to make the move to Trackhouse instead of going elsewhere.

Ross Chastain will pilot the No. 1 car for Trackhouse this season. Chastain, 29, will finally have a spot in NASCAR after his illustrious journey featured many heartbreaks and changes along the way.

The 29-year-old driver will continue his partnership with crew chief Phil Surgen as he moves to Trackhouse as well.

New drivers for current NASCAR Cup Series organizations

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Many organizations stood pat with their lineups from the 2021 season, but others made changes after drivers were either not maintained or moved on to new opportunities.

Austin Cindric got the best of these rides as he moved up from the NASCAR Xfinity Series to drive the No. 2 car for Team Penske . Cindric, 23, drove for Team Penske’s Xfinity Series program from 2018 to 2021.

The 23-year-old driver is expected to be one of three drivers fighting for the Rookie of the Year Award. Cindric will be paired with crew chief Jeremy Bullins as he continues with the No. 2 car in 2022.

Harrison Burton is another Xfinity Series driver that made the jump to the Cup Series this season. Burton, 21, is set to drive the No. 21 car for Wood Brothers Racing . This comes after spending two seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series.

The 21-year-old driver was underwhelming last season with zero victories but still joins Cindric in the rookie class. Brian Wilson will jump from Team Penske’s Xfinity program to become Burton’s crew chief.

Todd Gilliland is the other addition to the Cup Series rookie class. Gilliland, 21, is making a huge jump to drive the No. 38 car for Front Row Motorsports after spending the last two seasons with the organization in the NASCAR Truck Series.

The 21-year-old driver spent a total of four full-time seasons in the Truck Series and only won two races. Seth Barbour will continue as the crew chief of the No. 38 car for the third straight season.

Related: NASCAR today: TV schedule, race highlights and rankings

New teams and drivers for the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022

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There are no newly formed teams for the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, but there are two new organizations entering the series after spending time in the lower ranks, such as the Xfinity and Truck Series.

Kaulig Racing will enter two full-time cars throughout the season after buying two charters from Spire Motorsports last year. Justin Haley will be the organization’s only full-time entry as he drives the No. 31 car.

Haley, 22, ran full-time with Kaulig in the Xfinity Series from 2019 to 2021 and won four times at only superspeedway tracks. Trent Owens will be Haley’s crew chief after spending the last five years with JTG Daugherty Racing.

As for Kaulig’s other entry, Noah Gragson, A.J. Allmendinger, and Daniel Hemric will split time in the No. 16 car to help build the organization. Gragson, 23, will run 14 races while the others have not been made official yet.

Related: NASCAR’s latest NextGen tests create a very bright future

Another organization making a jump to the Cup Series is GMS Racing, but this one is not as simple as it seems. Maury Gallagher, the owner of GMS Racing, purchased the majority stake of Richard Petty Motorsports during the offseason.

Due to this purchase, GMS Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports have merged to become Petty GMS Racing . Erik Jones will continue as driver of the No. 43 car after spending the 2021 season in the same car.

However, Ty Dillon will now drive full-time in the No. 42 car for Petty GMS Racing after it was previously announced that he would drive the No. 94 car for GMS Racing. Dillon, 29, gets another opportunity in NASCAR’s top level after leaving the series last season.

The 29-year-old spent four seasons with Germain Racing before they sold their operations to 23XI Racing for the 2021 season. Jerame Donley will be Dillon’s crew chief after spending nine years as the engineer for the No. 42 car.

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