JGR announced the news on November 15 and confirmed that the reigning Xfinity Series champion will finalize the lineup which also includes Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Martin Truex Jr. He will continue to gain experience in the series after making 15 starts in 2022 for 23XI Racing.
Gibbs will continue to work with Chris Gayle, who was his crew chief for all 51 of his Xfinity Series starts. Together, they celebrated 11 wins. Now they will continue to pursue strong performances as Gayle makes his return to the Cup Series for the first time since 2020 when he was the crew chief for Erik Jones.
Gibbs Will Have a Different Number in 2023
Gibbs drove both the No. 45 and the No. 23 during the 2022 season while serving as an injury replacement for Kurt Busch. Now he will have a new number on the door of his Toyota Camry TRD. Though it won’t be 18.
According to the JGR announcement, Gibbs will keep the No. 54 as he moves up to the Cup Series. He will be the first driver since Todd Bodine in 2003 to run the number full-time. Meanwhile, the No. 18 will move to the shelf for the 2023 Cup Series season. Though it will return at some point.
“JGR intends to utilize the No. 18 in the NASCAR Cup Series in future years,” the team said after announcing the number change for Gibbs.
2023 will mark the first time since 1992 that JGR has not had the No. 18 in Cup Series competition. There have been multiple full-time drivers that have controlled this entry for JGR, including Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, and JJ Yeley. Others will join this list in the future; they just won’t do so in 2023.
JGR Did Not Detail Any Sponsorship Information
JGR answered some lingering questions with the announcement on November 15. However, the organization did not provide one important piece of information.
Which companies will serve as the primary sponsors of Gibbs as he takes on his true Rookie season? JGR did not address this. Monster Energy is a likely option considering that the company has been with him since 2019 when he competed in the ARCA Menards Series.
Monster Energy has been a primary partner for Kurt Busch in the Cup Series for several years and with multiple teams. The 2004 champion still has a relationship with Monster Energy, but he will not compete full-time during the 2023 season.
Another potential option is Interstate Batteries. The company has been with JGR for 30 years, and it inked a multi-year extension late in the 2021 season. This deal included primary schemes on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 in the Cup Series and Gibbs’ No. 54 in the Xfinity Series.
Busch will now move over to Richard Childress Racing while Gibbs will move up to the Cup Series on a full-time basis. It seems likely that Interstate Batteries will continue to work with him in 2023. Though JGR will first have to confirm this arrangement.