The 23XI team announced Thursday that Bubba Wallace will switch from the No. 23 car to the No. 45 car for the rest of the season. The team feels like their chances are better of winning the owners’ championship cup if Wallace was driving the No. 45.
.@BubbaWallace will switch car numbers for the final 10 races of the season to best position 23XI Racing and the No. 45 car for the strongest run in the playoffs for the Owner’s Championship.
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) August 31, 2022
“Kurt put us in the playoffs and isn’t able to finish out the mission,” Steve Lauletta, president of 23XI Racing, said to NASCAR.com. “We’re still qualified for the owners’ championship and now we’re looking to [Bubba] and Bootie [Barker, crew chief] and that team to take the No. 45 mantle and try to have our strongest run.”
Although Wallace didn’t make the playoffs this year, he did have seven top 14 finishes, including two second-place finishes this year, so it’s understandable why he is taking over the No. 45.
“Everybody knows the challenge,” Lauletta said. “We continue to work together to put both cars in position to be competitive. We want to continue the momentum with the No. 23 team and Bubba that we’ve had, and we want to continue to get Ty (Gibbs) more accustomed to this Cup car and the way races play out.”
“Since we started 23XI as a one-car team and grew to two cars, we’ve always said we are two cars but act as one team.”
As of now, the team is 12th in the owners standing in the No. 45 car. Since Kurt Busch has been sidelined because of an injury, Ty Gibbs, grandson of Job Gibbs has been driving the No. 45 in Busch’s place.