There was one important detail missing from Richard Childress Racing’s announcement that Kyle Busch would join the team for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Kyle Busch confirmed Tuesday that he is set to join Richard Childress Racing for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season and pilot the #8 Chevrolet, driven by Tyler Reddick since 2020.
Richard Childress Racing runs a two-car team, with Reddick behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet and Austin Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet.
With both Reddick and Dillon under contract through 2023, the addition of Busch raised eyebrows.
It’s no secret that Childress was not happy when Reddick announced in July that he had signed with 23XI Racing and Toyota for the 2024 season. This announcement led the team to pursue Busch, who they were surprised to find still had not signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing.
The team did say they secured a third charter to keep Reddick in the third entry next year before he eventually moves to 23XI Racing.
There was one thing missing, however: where did they get the third charter?
While teams aren’t obligated to share this information when an acquisition occurs, that news always ends up leaking out later because of how the 36-charter system works.
When asked about Reddick’s future with the team after 2022, Childress sounded unconvinced.
Because of Childress’s tone, some believe the team is flattering itself by revealing that they secured a third charter for 2023 and that they haven’t actually done so.
The motive behind this was trying to force a more expensive contract buyout that would have sent Reddick to 23XI Racing a year early.
But even that is not a sure thing, as Kurt Busch still wants to return and 23XI Racing only has two cars. While 23XI Racing itself was reportedly in the market for a third charter, they never signed Reddick with the intention of him joining the team any earlier than 2024.
And even if Busch doesn’t return, team co-owner Denny Hamlin said they have a contingency plan in place that doesn’t include Reddick.
Which leads us to many other questions.
Again, if Richard Childress Racing really did get a third charter, who did they get it from? If not, will they still run with Reddick in the third non-chartered entry? And if not, will he end up in some sort of a “stopgap” destination for a “lame duck” 2023 season with a Richard Childress Racing-affiliated team, or is an early move to Toyota possible (and not in 23XI Racing…)?
If Richard Childress Racing does have a third charter, is it part of a long-term plan to expand to three cars? Can they get a third charter in just one year, especially for a driver they are unhappy with? If they plan to run three entries not only in 2023 but beyond, who will be Reddick’s true replacement in 2024?