In a video released Friday, Kurt Busch announced he will drive for 23XI Racing in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series and unveiled the new No. 45 Toyota he will pilot full time next season. A full shot of the Camry revealed the number placement on the Next Gen car will be different from what it is currently.
NASCAR confirmed the change Friday as well, and said in a statement: “There remains incredible interest from new owners and new sponsors in joining the NASCAR family. We are committed to working with our race team partners to innovate and deliver opportunities to increase the value to sponsors who support our sport.”
The number on the Next Gen car will be moved forward from its normally centered position. The Next Gen car features a smaller quarter panel, therefore impacting space available for sponsors. Moving the number forward will allow more space for logos.
NASCAR tried the opposite in 2020 with the All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The numbers then were placed further back on the car, which also sported an under glow for the exhibition event (see inset photo).
The 2022 Next Gen car is set to make its official on-track debut Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway with the annual Daytona 500 season opener.
“We are extremely enthusiastic about the launch of the Next Gen car in 2022,” Richard Childress Racing President Torrey Galida said. “All three manufacturers did a great job with the styling of the new race cars. We all know how important the number is to a fan’s connection with their driver. Moving the numbers forward should make them more visible, and will also provide the race teams an opportunity to give sponsors some enhanced branding opportunities. The teams and sponsors are going to have fun creating some bold new designs on the new car.”