Are you ready for some racing? Well, 360 midget racers are ready, as the 2023 Chili Bowl gets underway Sunday with practice runs. Five nights of qualifying will follow, with the Lucas Oil Championship feature races Jan. 14. The final feature will see the presentation of this year’s Golden Driller statue to the winner.
Watching live on FloRacing.com will cost you $150 for a year’s subscription, but highlights will be available for free later. Last year’s winner Tanner Thorson, who cut his teeth racing outlaw karts locally, is looking to continue the recent tradition of back-to-back Chili Bowl champions.
Construction is now underway at the L.A. Coliseum for NASCAR’s Busch Light Clash, building a quarter-mile oval racetrack inside the venerable stadium. It will be the second year for the venue, with 27 competitors taking to the track, up from 23 last year. Qualifying day is just four weeks away.
There have been some changes in the NASCAR Cup teams for 2023, so to keep you up to date, here’s a rundown:
• Hendrick Motorsports will see the same driver lineup as in 2022 including new contracts for two drivers. Chase Elliott has a new five-year deal and William Byron has signed a three-year contract. No contract changes for Kyle Larson or Alex Bowman.
• Richard Childress Racing will have Kyle Busch wheeling the No. 8 car this year, joining Austin Dillon in the No. 5 Camaro.
• Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez will stay with Trackhouse Racing after a surprisingly successful 2022. The team is also behind the Project 91 program, which will provide a car for drivers from other disciplines at selected events, as it did for Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen last season.
• Petty GMS has re-signed Erik Jones to a multi-year contract and brought Noah Gragson aboard replacing Ty Dillon. Jimmie Johnson has assumed a part ownership stake and will drive in selected races after returning to NASCAR after a two-year IndyCar stint.
• A.J. Allmendinger returns to Cup full-time for Kaulig Racing, joining Justin Haley.
• JTG Daugherty has re-signed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to a multi-year contract extension. He will be the sole driver for the team.
• The Penske team has awarded both 2022 Cup champion Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney new multi-year contracts. Austin Cindric returns for his second year in Cup.
• Stewart-Haas Racing may see Kevin Harvick’s swan song in NASCAR Cup. Harvick, 47, has committed to announce his plans beyond 2023 before Daytona. Ryan Preece will replace Cole Custer in No. 41, Aric Almirola is back in the No. 10 after reconsidering retirement, and Chase Briscoe will drive No. 14.
• Roush Fenway Keselowski will maintain the same lineup as 2022 with part owner Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher.
• Harrison Burton will stay on as the sole driver for the Wood Brothers.
• Front Row Motorsports will see Todd Gilliland and Michael McDowell returning.
• Joe Gibbs Racing has Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Christopher Bell returning while 2022 Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs will drive the ex-Kyle Busch car with a number change to 54. Young Mr. Gibbs may have to modify his aggressive style to succeed in Cup.
• Tyler Reddick joins Bubba Wallace at 23XI racing, driving the No. 45 car vacated by Kurt Busch’s retirement. Wallace has a new long-term contract.
There are too many changes in the Xfinity and Camping World Trucks to list here, but I will note that the Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck team will switch from Toyota to Chevy, mirroring their owner’s new Cup affiliation.