‘Door, Bumper, Clear’ Sets Stage for Potential NASCAR Charter Sales

Cup Series

Getty Cup Series charters could be on the move.

There are several questions about the 2023 Cup Series season, headlined by Kyle Busch’s future. If he doesn’t sign an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, he may not have an obvious destination. Though the “Door, Bumper, Clear” podcast has set the stage for some potential upcoming charter sales that could shake up the sport.

Podcast co-hosts Freddie Kraft, Brett Griffin, and TJ Majors discussed the possibility during the July 25 episode. They provided an in-depth explanation as to why these Busch/JGR negotiations aren’t progressing particularly well. Griffin then revealed that there are multiple charters that could change hands in the near future.

“I think there’s two to three charters that are being available to buy,” Griffin said. “I don’t think I should say whose, but I know there are two and there is potentially three. But I also know there is more than three people, more than three organizations, that want a charter.

“Dale Jr., we know he wants a charter. We know Denny [Hamlin] wants one. I promise you right now Matt Kaulig would buy one because Matt Kaulig is Matt Kaulig. Awesome people to work for and very aggressive businessman. If he had a charter to buy, he’d buy it.”

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Hamlin Stands Out as a Top Option

As Griffin noted, you can’t count out Matt Kaulig. The Kaulig Racing owner turned heads in June 2021 by announcing the purchase of two charters and his plans to add two full-time Cup Series cars to a roster already featuring three Xfinity Series cars.

Kaulig is an option to purchase one of the charters, but Hamlin is possibly the top option. He has previously talked about how his ideal setup would feature three cars. He also has acknowledged that there are multiple scenarios for the 2024 season when 23XI Racing could have Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch, and Bubba Wallace all ready to drive.

Of course, there are some hurdles standing in the way of 23XI Racing purchasing another charter. Hamlin has been open in the past about the drastic price increase of charters. Per the Sports Business Journal, he also had a conversation with NASCAR CEO Jim France where he said that expansion plans are on hold until they see a change in the business model. This included building a new facility and purchasing a charter.

Charters Are Only 1 Part of the Equation

Kyle Busch

GettyKyle Busch (front) races at Pocono Raceway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is only one example of the owners interested in acquiring a charter. If JR Motorsports can achieve this goal, the organization will be one step closer to making its Cup Series debut. Though this is only one of the important parts of the equation.

Along with the charter, JR Motorsports would require a driver and funding. The organization has both in ample supply given the talent level in the building and the group of partners that support the four drivers.

Another important piece is the crew chief. As the hosts of “Door, Bumper, Clear” noted, having a top crew chief who meshes with the driver and the whole team can make a world of difference. They specifically mentioned Michael McDowell setting a new career-high in top-10 finishes (eight) after he joined forces with Blake Harris.

The other example was Erik Jones and his partnership with Dave Elenz. The No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet has not reached Victory Lane yet, but it has regularly run near the front of the pack with Jones behind the wheel and Elenz atop the pit box. They have combined for seven top-10 finishes and two top-fives.

The hosts directly compared this entry to the No. 42, which has equipment from the same shop. Ty Dillon and crew chief Jerame Donley have only combined for one top-10 finish in the first 21 races.

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