Denny Hamlin: ‘Ton of Unanswered Questions’ After Tyler Reddick Deal

Denny Hamlin

Getty Denny Hamlin has made major moves in recent weeks.

On July 12, 23XI Racing revealed that Tyler Reddick will join the organization on a multi-year deal, starting in 2024. He will make the leap from Richard Childress Racing, but where will he fit in?

The Cup Series team currently runs two full-time entries. 2004 champion Kurt Busch drives the No. 45 while Talladega winner (2021) Bubba Wallace drives the No. 23. Both are locked up for the 2022 season, and Busch is currently in the first season of his multiyear deal. Additionally, 23XI Racing president Steve Lauletta said that the team “has plans” for Wallace to continue, per SiriusXM’s Claire B. Lang.

There is no immediate spot for Reddick, but the No. 45 would be the more likely option. Busch is 43, and he is nearing the end of his career. He previously addressed the possibility of retirement, to the point that he released a video hinting at it before the 2021 season, but he noted that he decided to stick around so he could drive the Gen 7 cars.

If Busch decides to walk away after the 2023 season, he would create an immediate opening for Reddick. The California native would be able to simply slide over to the No. 45 Toyota and kick off his first season with 23XI Racing. If Busch sticks around, however, there are other options for the organization.

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There Are Multiple Unknowns Regarding the Future

Lauletta confirmed that the driver lineup will remain the same for the 2023 season. Both Wallace and Busch will be back in their respective rides as they strive to add more wins to the organization’s total. Beyond that, there are some unknowns.

The biggest unknown is Busch. Hamlin has said that the 2004 Cup Series champion can drive for him as long as he wants and that Busch has delivered more than he hoped in terms of leadership and talent. Hamlin also said that he wants Busch to stick around at 23XI Racing even after he stops suiting up for races.

Hamlin appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on July 12 and said that he isn’t keeping any secrets. He doesn’t know if the team will be two cars or three, nor does he know if Busch and Wallace will be in the building. His main focus was simply taking care of business and locking up Reddick for the future.

“There are a ton of moving parts and, honestly, a ton of unanswered questions,” Hamlin explained during his appearance on ‘Tradin’ Paint.’ “I just had to make sure that I had the biggest piece of that puzzle completed, and that is the driver.”

Denny Hamlin Previous Revealed His ‘Ideal’ Setup for 23XI

Denny Hamlin

GettyDenny Hamlin (right) has addressed the possibility of a third team.

There are multiple ways that this Reddick deal could go, starting in 2024. He could replace Busch or Wallace depending on how the 2023 season plays out. He could also take over a third car if 23XI Racing expands.

Co-owner Denny Hamlin addressed this possibility during an appearance on “The Dale Jr. Download.” He explained during the May 24 episode that there is a sweet spot in terms of setups. Four cars are too many while one or two are too few.

“I think probably three is the proper number,” Hamlin explained to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mike Davis. “I think that when you think — look at efficiencies when it comes to your personnel, the departments that you have — you gain from one to two [teams]. That’s good.

“Three is a slight gain and then a fourth team it’s like hiring a whole new team again. You’ve got to hire the additional people. So three is kind of a good sweet spot for your resources.”

Hamlin said it was a possibility that he could join 23XI Racing and drive for his own team, but he noted that he would prefer to finish out his career with Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx. He also clarified that he would need to obtain a charter that guarantees entry into every race and a bigger portion of the prize purse.

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