The 2023 NASCAR Season is going to get underway very soon, so who should we expect to be good or bad? Last year, it was relatively tough for teams to pull away from the competition because of the new car. This year could be a different story though. With a whole offseason spent with the cars and a full season of data, teams will have a much better chance at finding speed in new ways. What teams should you trust? What teams can ride off the momentum from last year? Find out below ⬇️ ⬇️
Buy: Trackhouse Racing
Trackhouse had an outstanding 2022 that no one could have predicted. Why should you buy Trackhouse stock? Here's a better question - why shouldn't you? Last year was a learning experience for everyone working with the team. Everyone back at the shop was able to learn and buy into Justin Marks' culture. Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez both were just learning how to compete at the front in NASCAR's top series, and both proved they had the talent.
With this experience, Trackhouse may be equipped to be legitimate contenders for the championship with both cars. Not to mention their exciting "Project91" that will continue to make international news as long as they attract more global stars like Kimi Raikkonen. The sky is the limit for this race team.
Sell: Joe Gibbs Racing
JGR has been a staple of the Cup Series for well over two decades and they don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. JGR only had 7 wins total in 2022, their least since 2014. Their status as top dogs with Hendrick Motorsports may take another hit in 2023 for a couple big reasons.
First is their driver line-up. Ty Gibbs is not an upgrade over Kyle Busch (at least for this year), even in his recent struggling form. Gibbs may very well miss the playoffs given the recent trend of rookie drivers, unless he can sneak a surprise win in somewhere. Hamlin and Truex are not getting any younger, and Truex is clearly not quite in his prime anymore. Christopher Bell was a pleasant surprise last year, and quite frankly will need to step it up even more this season to get the whole team back on track.
Secondly, I think 23XI is going be even more competitive this year with both Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace. Why does this impact Joe Gibbs? Well these are just two more competitive Toyotas JGR will be in competition with. If Toyota is the strongest manufacturer during a weekend, that means they're going to be competing with Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace. I mean look at both Kansas races from last year. Toyotas were dominant, but Bubba and Kurt ended up with the trophies. Used to, if the Toyotas were fast it was a given that a JGR driver would win - but not anymore. If the Toyotas are outright fastest at 12 races this year, I could honestly see Tyler Reddick winning 4-6 of those and Bubba taking one or two for himself.
Buy: Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
Honestly this is a pretty easy "buy" for one reason: RFK really can only go up from here. Something wasn't clicking for Brad K last year, but he didn't forget how to drive. The whole owner/driver dynamic in the Cup Series might have been more tough than his experience owning a truck team, or maybe it was something else. Regardless, RFK came to life in the playoffs with some serious speed, obviously highlighted by Chris Buescher's win at Bristol. They didn't always get the results (Such as Brad's DQ at Martinsville where he finished 4th), but they had much more speed than the first half of the season.
Another reason that I'm confident things will turn around is the fact that it was Buescher getting most of the good results. I don't think Chris is a bad driver, but I think the 2012 Cup Series champion will be able to catch up pretty quickly next year. As long as RFK can maximize results and bring that late-season speed to the full 2023 season, then lookout for RFK.
Sell: Front Row Motorsports
A part of all of us has a soft spot for Michael McDowell, but that isn't going to help him win races. I think FRM benefited the most from the level playing field that came with the Next Gen car, and got lucky on a few things. The bigger teams with bigger budgets and more resources will start to open a gap on teams like Front Row.
Another reason why I'm out on FRM is the departure of Blake Harris, who was obviously an instrumental part of McDowell's 12 top-10 season. This coupled with Ford's obvious struggles in recent years just all point to a return to back of the pack for Front Row. Also, we can't forget about Todd Gilliland. He had an... okay rookie year, I guess. The more important thing is for Gilliland to improve on his eight DNFs from last year and to try to be a little closer to McDowell every week. I just don't see an avenue for FRM getting better this year.
Buy: Kaulig Racing
This is a pretty popular take right now, but it seems just too easy to bet the house on Kaulig for 2023. Chris Rice and Matt Kaulig are two of the best minds in the sport right now. With their attention shifting from Xfinity to Cup pretty much entirely, they're due a giant leap this year. We can't not mention the elephant in the room, which is taking on AJ Allmendinger full-time.
This is an immediate upgrade on the lackluster rotation of drivers they had in the #16 car last year. AJ is destined to win at least one road course this year, and could potentially win an oval as well. Here's a bold prediction: AJ wins multiple races this year. Honestly, it may not even be that bold. Also not to mention the surprising emergence of Justin Haley. Justin wrecked out only once all of the 2022 season, at Daytona. He also had two top-5s at intermediate tracks, and one on a road course. He's proved himself at the superspeedways during his time in the Xfinity series as well. I never really rated Justin highly, so either he's improved drastically over the last year or Kaulig is just pumping out super fast race cars. Either scenario is great news for the whole Kaulig organization.