The 2023 Xfinity Series season begins with a trip to Daytona International Speedway in mid-February. This will be the first step in an intriguing championship battle featuring countless contenders.
The 2022 season had six drivers combining to win the most races. Noah Gragson had eight, champion Ty Gibbs had seven, AJ Allmendinger had five, Justin Allgaier had three, Josh Berry had three, and Austin Hill had two. Three of these drivers will now move up to the Cup Series while the other three will return.
Allgaier, Berry, and Hill will all enter the season as favorites at a variety of tracks after they all made the playoffs in 2022. Berry will top the list at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after he secured two wins at the track in two seasons. Allgaier will be one of the favorites at Darlington Raceway and Phoenix Raceway.
Hill will draw attention during superspeedway races after he captured events at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also finished second in the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Another winner from 2022, Brandon Jones, will take over the No. 9 at JR Motorsports. He will join the Chevrolet team after locking up five wins with Joe Gibbs Racing, and he will immediately become a name to watch based on both his experience and the entry he will control.
These Championship Hopefuls Will Have New Competition
Gragson, Gibbs, and Allmendinger will no longer be full-time competitors in the Xfinity Series, but there will be some standout drivers that will potentially join the championship battle.
John Hunter Nemechek sits atop this list. The North Carolina native makes his return to the series after two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series. He will drive the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he will begin the year as one of the championship favorites due to his two previous wins in the series and the quality of the equipment that he will control.
Another driver to watch will be Parker Kligerman. The journeyman driver/NBC Sports reporter will compete full-time in a national NASCAR series for the first time since the 2013 season when he drove for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Kligerman has long been discussed as a driver that could contend if he had another full-time opportunity. He has been competitive across the national series, and he has registered wins in the Truck Series on both superspeedways and road courses. Now he will take over a competitive car at Big Machine Racing, one that Tyler Reddick took to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway.
A Returning Winner & New Competitors
There are numerous drivers across the Xfinity Series that could contend for wins and spots in the playoffs during the 2023 season. Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Sam Mayer, Jeremy Clements, Sammy Smith, Ryan Sieg, Kaz Grala, and Riley Herbst are only some examples.
Another driver that will create conversations is Jeffrey Earnhardt. The veteran will compete full-time for Alpha Prime Racing as he continues to pursue his first career win. No one knows how he will perform, especially with a new team, but Alpha Prime Racing made major strides as an organization in 2022 while Earnhardt secured a top-two finish with Richard Childress Racing.
There will also be two other drivers that will draw plenty of attention for different reasons. Two-time Truck Series playoff driver Chandler Smith will take on the Xfinity Series for the first time while replacing Allmendinger in the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro.
The Georgia native only has three starts to his name, but he has one top-10 finish. He will also drive a car that reached Victory Lane 12 times with Allmendinger behind the wheel.
Similarly, Sammy Smith will join Joe Gibbs Racing on a full-time basis after making nine starts in 2022. He will drive the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra while trying to secure his first career win and put himself in the playoffs.
On the opposite end of the racing spectrum sits Cole Custer. The 2020 Cup Series Rookie of the Year will return to the Xfinity Series while working alongside teammate Riley Herbst. He will bring back the No. 00 Ford Mustang that he took to Victory Lane nine times, and he will try to put himself back into championship contention.