Several champions could retire after the 2023 season

NASCAR could see several former champions retire at the end of the 2023 season. We therefore take stock of these drivers at the end of their careers and their respective situations.

NASCAR’s last major retirement was in 2020 when seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson decided not to play a full-time season anymore. However, Johnson is now back in the sport for a few races in 2023 and as owner/driver of Petty GMS Motorsports.

The 2023 season could spell the end of recess for a few top drivers who may well hang up their helmets after the Phoenix final.

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. on the front line for retirement

Among NASCAR Cup Series drivers who could retire after next season, Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. top the list. The likelihood seems quite high for the two to leave after the 2023 season.

Harvick has reportedly told Stewart-Haas Racing that he intends to retire at the end of the 2023 season, but no official announcement has yet been made. If so, it will probably be one of the most important topics of the entire season.

The 46-year-old driver has two championships to his credit and more than 100 wins, including 60 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Harvick’s retirement would be a blow to the sport as he replaced Dale Earnhardt Sr. following his fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.

For his part, Truex is also closer to retirement than ever after the 2022 season. The question has even arisen of his return in 2023. But the decision has been made and he will be back in the #19 car. of Joe Gibbs Racing. The 42-year-old driver had a complicated 2022 season and did not win for the first time since 2014.

Any other NASCAR big names on the go?

There are a few other drivers who may retire after the end of the 2023 season. One of them is Denny Hamlin. It might be a surprising name, but if Hamlin wins the title in 2023, it wouldn’t be illogical for him to stop. Also note that his current contract with FedEx will end at the end of next season.

Based on his comments, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him retire if he were to win the title. Also, the 42-year-old doesn’t want to find himself in a scenario where he can’t win every week.

Another name is ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton. Crafton seems to be at the heart of these discussions every year, but it’s probably related to the fact that he is 46 years old. The three-time NASCAR Truck champion continues to age and his performance isn’t as good as it used to be. These two factors combined are often a strong sign for a pilot. It’s something Truex and Crafton could consider after their 2022 season. Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have all been through the same thing.

Finally, a last name can be added to this list, that of Johnny Sauter. Although he’s no longer riding full time, Sauter is still looking to ride in 2023, but that could be the 2016 Truck Series champion’s last season.

Harvick, Truex, Hamlin, Crafton and Sauter have been staple NASCAR drivers for nearly two decades. If any of them were to retire, it would undoubtedly be a significant moment in history and it seems very likely that we will see at least one of them hang up their helmets next year.

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