Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team is set to look quite a bit different in 2022 than it did in 2021, though not much has been confirmed yet.
Fresh off winning the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel of the # 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing are set to undergo a significant amount of change for the 2022 season.
For one, Hemric isn’t even slated to be back with the team after spending just one year there. He is set to replace the Cup Series-bound Justin Haley at Kaulig Racing behind the wheel of the # 11 Chevrolet.
Only one of their other two full-time drivers is set to return in 2022. Harrison Burton, who drove the # 20 Toyota for two seasons, is set to move to the Cup Series, replacing Matt DiBenedetto at Wood Brothers Racing behind the wheel of the # 21 Ford. Brandon Jones, however, is set to return for a fifth season behind the wheel of the # 19 Toyota.
And that is quite literally the only thing set to stay the same for the team from 2021 to 2022.
Joe Gibbs Racing have confirmed that they will be downsizing from four cars to threethough they plan to continue running the “star car” with a rotation of drivers throughout the year.
But even the “star car” lineup is set to see an abundance of change. Kyle Busch, who has long done the maximum allowable number of races (most recently five) behind the wheel of Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car”, has retired from Xfinity Series competition after reaching 100 wins last June.
Additionally, Ty Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, was the primary driver of that car, the # 54 Toyota, in 2021, driving it in 17 of 33 races on the schedule (he did run an 18th race in an additional Joe Gibbs Racing car).
For the last several months, even going back to well before the 2021 season ended, it has been speculated that Gibbs will be promoted to a full-time ride and occupy the second seat alongside Jones for the 2022 season, considering the impact he had in limited seat time last year, winning four races.
Yet even with Gibbs having secured sponsorship before the 2021 season ended for multiple races for 2022, this still hasn’t been formally announced. Keep in mind, the season is scheduled to get underway in just over a week. Notably, it is still believed that he will end up running the full schedule; there is no reason to think otherwise.
Trevor Bayne became the first confirmed driver of the “star car” on Wednesday, and it was announced that this car will be the # 18 Toyota.
Bayne is set to drive this car in seven races throughout the 33-race season, which still leaves the team with 26 races to fill. Which other drivers will get seat time in this car with the two drivers who accounted for 22 of its 33 starts in 2021, Busch and Gibbs, out of the picture?
With the # 18 Toyota becoming the “star car”, Gibbs is presumably set to run the # 54 Toyota, which would eliminate the # 20 Toyota from the team’s lineup.
The remaining questions should be answered in the coming days or weeks. The Beef. It’s What For Dinner. 300 is scheduled to open up the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season on Saturday, February 19. This race is set to be broadcast live from Daytona International Speedway on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 5:00 pm ET. If you have not started your free trial of FuboTVnow would be a great time to do so!