2022 NASCAR Season: Next Gen Cars And a New Lot of Team Owners

Published 08/03/2021, 4:46 PM EDT
Apr 25, 2021; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) leads during the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports


Several changes are afoot in the NASCAR scene at the moment, especially with the Next Gen car making its 2022 debut. Of course, there are the usual suspects like Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Jack Roush, Roger Penske, and Joe Gibbs that will get to put their spin on the cars. However, it is worth mentioning that the new car will also get to meet a variety of new Cup Series team owners.

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This includes the likes of Matt Kaulig, Justin Marks and even current racers, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. Furthermore, NASCAR has even added some star power in the form of NBA legend Michael Jordan and Grammy winner Pitbull.

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – JANUARY 15: Erik Jones tests the Next Gen car at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Who are all these NASCAR team owners?

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First and foremost, there is Matt Kaulig, a former college football player. He practically grew up around motorsports and has fielded an Xfinity team for the last five years. The outfit has broken into the NASCAR Cup Series grid on a few occasions, and there are now plans to make it permanent.

His initial target was a 2021 full-time debut, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a delay. Now, he and many of his fellow team owners are happy about the increased level of competition. Furthermore, the 2022 Next Gen car could provide a fresh start or a grid reshuffle.

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Meanwhile, Justin Marks’ Trackhouse Racing has bought Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operation. With the acquisition, they could push forward plans to field a second car alongside the #99 Chevrolet of Daniel Suarez. As a former driver, Marks sees the increase in the number of team owners as an evolution.

Next up is Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s brainchild, 23XI Racing. When Leavine Family Racing shut down, it opened up an opportunity for Hamlin and Jordan to fill in the void. Like Trackhouse Racing, they also have designs to field a second car alongside their marquee #23 Toyota.

Other major owners include Brad Keselowski and even Jeff Gordon, who was a surprise addition. Keselowski is leaving the Team Penske organization and joining Roush Fenway Racing as driver-owner. Meanwhile, Gordon has been touted as Rick Hendrick’s successor of sorts.

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Without a doubt, all of these NASCAR team owners will be anxiously waiting for the new season. However, they will have to complete the 2021 season before all that.

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Dhruv George

11978 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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