The 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener will feature a change for Big Machine Racing. The team will field two entries for the first time while competing at Daytona International Speedway.
Big Machine Racing announced the news on February 2. The team said that Jade Buford will return to the lineup and that he will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro. He will make his first start for Big Machine Racing since the June trip to Portland International Raceway in 2022.
“Big Machine Racing is so proud to announce a second entry for Jade Buford at Daytona,” said Big Machine Racing owner Scott Borchetta. “He had an incredible [top-five] run going last year before being caught up in a wild last lap incident.
“This year, to double the excitement and our winning opportunity, we’re doubling up with our Big Machine Double Spiked Coolers [No. 5] Chevrolet Camaro… and I’m visualizing a Big Machine Racing 1-2 finish.”
Buford Has Made Dozens of Starts for Big Machine Racing
The Nashville native made limited starts in 2020 for SS GreenLight Racing and JD Motorsports, but he has spent the majority of his career driving for Big Machine Racing.
Buford started 32 of the 33 Xfinity Series races in 2021 behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro, and he delivered a season-best ninth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway. The only race he missed was the season opener at Daytona.
Buford started the 2022 season as the full-time driver once again, but Borchetta made the decision early in the year to utilize a variety of guest drivers. Buford still made nine starts while securing a top-10 finish a Circuit of the Americas.
The season-opening race at Daytona started well for the small team. Buford qualified third overall in the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro, and he kept himself in a position to battle for a strong finish at the end.
Buford was running 10th on the final lap when Myatt Snider spun off the nose of Anthony Alfredo and flew up into the catch fence. This kicked off an incident that collected eight cars and dropped the No. 48 Chevrolet from 10th to 23rd.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Xfinity series at Daytona with Big Machine Racing driving the No. 5 Big Machine Vodka Double Spiked Coolers Chevrolet,” Buford said in a press release. “I’m honored to be debuting the 2nd car for the team and looking forward to working with Parker as a teammate.
“This will be my first time having a teammate to work with so I’m very excited to see what we can do to make sure one of our BMR Chevrolets crosses the finish line first at the end of 300 miles on the high banks of Daytona.”
Another Driver Will Make His ‘Official’ Big Machine Racing Debut
While Buford will make his return to Big Machine Racing, another driver will make his “official” debut. Parker Kligerman will make his second-ever start for the team while kicking off his full-time season.
The driver/NBC Sports reporter made his first start for Big Machine Racing during the 2022 season. He took over the No. 48 Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway, and he delivered a sixth-place finish.
Big Machine Racing then held a press conference on October 29 and revealed that Kligerman would make his return in the 2023 season. He would be the full-time driver of the No. 48 while contending for playoff points and wins.
This deal achieved two goals. Kligerman secured a full-time opportunity so that he could pursue a championship while Big Machine Racing moved back to having one full-time driver instead of a rotating lineup.