Dave Rogers, now the performance director at 23XI Racing, appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, November 16, and confirmed the change. He explained that he and owner Joe Gibbs had ongoing discussions about the future of the program, which led to him joining 23XI Racing.
“I’ve been talking with Coach [Joe Gibbs] about what would happen next?” Rogers said during his appearance. “We knew that the JGR Xfinity Series program was going to be reduced from four teams to three teams, and that left an odd man out. So, Coach and I have been talking for a while.
“He told me if anything opened up at 23XI that he would bless my desires to entertain those conversations,” Rogers continued. “Something was posted that was really appealing to me. It seemed like a great opportunity for where I am in my career, and so I talked it over with him and he said he was OK if I applied, and that ball started rolling awhile ago.”
JGR ran four full-time cars during the 2021 Xfinity Series season and brought out a fifth for one race — Road America on July 3. Harrison Burton drove the No. 20, Daniel Hemric ran in the No. 18, Brandon Jones controlled the No. 19, and several other drivers alternated in the No. 54 while winning a combined 11 races.
Jones Remains the Only Confirmed Driver for 2022
Following the championship race at Phoenix, major changes took place at JGR. Hemric joined Kaulig Racing and Chevrolet after holding up his championship trophy. Burton moved to the NASCAR Cup Series and the No. 21 Wood Brother Racing Ford Mustang.
Jones is the only confirmed driver for 2022. JGR announced on October 20 that the Xfinity Series veteran will return to the No. 19 Toyota Supra for the 2022 season with Menards as his primary sponsor for all 33 races.
Jones joined JGR in 2018, his third full-time season in the Xfinity Series. He has posted four wins in his four seasons with the championship-winning organization, including a career-high three in 2020. Now he will try to add even more while working with new teammates.
Questions Remain About the Other 2 Toyotas
While JGR provided a crucial update about the future of the No. 19 Toyota, the team has remained silent about the other two vehicles. There have been no updates about which drivers will join Jones or what numbers they will use in 2022.
The worst-kept secret in NASCAR is that reigning ARCA Menards Series champion Ty Gibbs will join the Xfinity Series in 2022 after winning four of his 18 starts in 2021 and walking away with Rookie of the Year honors. Broadcasters openly spoke about his future during several Xfinity Series races. However, the team has yet to confirm that he will actually make this move.
The other car remains even more of a mystery. There are several free-agent drivers spread across all three national series that could join JGR and fight for wins. The team could also use it as an All-Star car for Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Martin Truex Jr., and other Toyota Racing Development drivers. Kyle Busch will not be on this list after announcing his retirement from the Xfinity Series in 2021.