23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin told media members on Sunday, October 3, that he had a charter for the No. 45 Toyota that Kurt Busch will drive in 2022. However, a report by FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass indicates that the deal has fallen through.
“Sources indicate 23XI tentative deal for a charter from Front Row has collapsed, as Front Row has walked away from final talks,” Pockrass tweeted on Wednesday, October 13. He added that 23XI Racing could have another option in Spire Motorsports, the team behind Corey LaJoie’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro and the No. 77 Chevrolet that primarily featured Justin Haley in 2021.
Front Row Motorsports currently fields two cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. Rookie Anthony Alfredo drives the No. 38 Ford Mustang while Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell drives the No. 34 Ford Mustang.
Pockrass previously reported on August 15 that 23XI Racing had engaged in talks with multiple teams about acquiring a charter for Busch’s 2022 ride and that they had “progressed the most” with Front Row Motorsports. The veteran reporter listed multiple options to complete the deal, such as the simple acquisition of one charter or a merger between the two teams.
Spire Previously Sold 2 Charters to an Xfinity Series Team
Spire has remained a prominent part of charter discussions since late June. The team issued a press release on June 18 and confirmed that Kaulig Racing had purchased two of the three charters to move up to the Cup Series in 2022.
Spire added in the sale announcement that LaJoie would remain with the team for the 2022 season. The 30-year-old is currently in the midst of his first full-time season with Spire, and he has showcased an ability to contend on superspeedways. He locked up a ninth-place finish in the Daytona 500 on February 14 and ran near the front of the pack during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona on August 28.
“Spire Motorsports will sell two of its three charters to Kaulig Racing. We will continue to field the No. 7 with Corey LaJoie as a chartered entry in 2022,” Spire co-owners Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr said in a statement. “We remain committed to NASCAR and the Cup Series and we will continue to look for opportunities to grow and compete in the future.”
Front Row Motorsports Previously Addressed an Uncertain Future
While reports continued to swirl about the future of Front Row Motorsports and whether the team will field two cars in the NASCAR Cup Series, general manager Jerry Freeze addressed the situation. He spoke to NBC Sports about the entire 2021 season, remaining competitive, and the future of the organization.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations going back to March, really, about Front Row and a different dynamic,” Freeze said, per a September 2 NBC Sports article. “But Front Row will be in the Cup Series. We’re not going out of business.
“You know, the thing about winning Daytona, I think, and maybe showing more speed out of the organization, it’s opened up some opportunities that we wouldn’t normally have had … We’re not set on exactly what we’re doing yet, but we’re working on things. I think the future looks really, really bright for Front Row regardless of which direction we go in.”
Freeze also explained that he would like to think that the organization will get better in 2022. Front Row had set a goal to have McDowell’s No. 34 team run in the top-16 in points. The veteran driver achieved this goal early and made it to the playoffs.
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