A seat has just opened up for the 2023 Cup Series season. Ty Dillon has announced that he and Petty GMS Motorsports will part ways after 2022’s finale at Phoenix Raceway, which will open up a spot in the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to drive the No. 42 for Petty GMS this year,” Dillon tweeted on July 15. “However, at the conclusion of the 2022 Cup Series season, we have mutually agreed to go our separate ways. I’m looking forward to what is next in the future.”
This statement is a major change from the information provided by Dillon prior to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He spoke to media members and said that his goal is to return to the No. 42 for the 2023 season. Though Dillon clarified that there were still things to go through behind the scenes and that he needed to leave “no excuse” on the track.
FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass caught up to Dillon shortly after the announcement and obtained some more information. He learned that the Cup Series driver is a free agent and that he doesn’t have anything lined up yet. Dillon also clarified that he doesn’t know if the No. 8 car at Richard Childress Racing is an option once Tyler Reddick departs after 2023.
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One intriguing part of this conversation is that Dillon said this was a mutual split. However, he also said that GMS Racing owner Maurice Gallagher had “informed him” earlier in the week. Dillon also talked about not sitting back and “licking his wounds” in reference to pursuing another opportunity in Cup or Xfinity.
Petty GMS Motorsports Issued a Statement of Its Own
The news caught many by surprise and led to some questions about the major change. Petty GMS Motorsports responded with a statement confirming the split and that it will take place after the season finale in November.
“Petty GMS and Ty Dillon have mutually agreed to part ways following the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season,” the statement read. “We are appreciative of what Ty has done this year to help grow Petty GMS. As we continue the season, we remain focused on strong runs and getting the No. 42 Chevy Camaro to victory lane. We wish Ty all the best in the future.”
Dillon is currently in his first season with Petty GMS Motorsports. He joined GMS Racing in October 2021, prior to a merger with Richard Petty Motorsports. Dillon is 27th in the Cup Series standings with a top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway to his name. Now he will finish out the season in the No. 42 before moving on to another opportunity.
An Insider Identified a Possible Replacement
With Dillon announcing that he will leave Petty GMS Motorsports, there are immediate questions about who will replace him in the No. 42. Noted insider Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal has provided one option.
Stern tweeted on July 15 that Noah Gragson is “one of the top targets” to fill the vacancy at Petty GMS Motorsports, per his sources. This makes sense considering that the JR Motorsports driver is expected to move up to the Cup Series in the very near future. Gragson also has a longstanding relationship with Black Rifle Coffee, the company that sponsored Dillon and the No. 42 for several races.
Another possible option is one of Gragson’s teammates. Josh Berry, the driver of the No. 8, has previously expressed a desire to move up to the Cup Series. He is in the midst of his first full-time Xfinity Series season, but he also made two starts for Spire Motorsports during the 2021 season. He didn’t contend for a top-10 finish, but he avoided incidents at tracks where he had very little experience and finished both races.