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today is Feb 05, 2023

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing will only use two of the three car numbers they used during the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season in 2023.

Joe Gibbs Racing solidified their full-time driver lineup for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season this week, announcing that Sammy Smith and John Hunter Nemechek are set to replace Ty Gibbs and Brandon Jones. Both competed in select races behind the wheel of the “star car” in 2022.

Gibbs is moving to the Cup Series as the replacement for the Richard Childress Racing-bound Kyle Busch, and Jones is moving to JR Motorsports as the replacement for the Cup Series-bound Noah Gragson. Gragson is set to join Petty GMS Motorsports, replacing the Spire Motorsports-bound Ty Dillon.

However, the two car numbers being used by Smith and Nemechek are not the two car numbers that were used by Gibbs and Jones. Gibbs drove the No. 54 Toyota and Jones drove the No. 19 Toyota.

Smith is set to drive the No. 18 Toyota, which had been used as the “star car”, and Nemechek is set to drive the No. 20 Toyota.

The No. 20 Toyota was not included in the team’s 2022 roster, after having been a part of it for 21 consecutive seasons. It was most recently used in 2021 when Harrison Burton competed for the team.

The No. 19 Toyota is set to serve as the “star car” in 2023 after having been a full-time entry from 2016 to 2022. Jones drove the car in all five of his seasons with the team.

Meanwhile, the No. 54 Toyota will not be utilized during the 2023 season, as Gibbs is effectively taking it with him to the Cup Series. While he is replacing Busch, he will not use the No. 18, meaning that Joe Gibbs Racing’s original car number will not be in the Cup Series for the first time since they entered the sport in 1992.

The No. 54 Toyota made a return to Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series lineup in 2020 and served as the “star car” in both 2020 and 2021. Prior to its return, it hadn’t been a part of their lineup since 2015. It was first used by the team in 2013. The No. 18 Toyota has been used every year since 1999, save for 2014.