Bubba Wallace
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23XI Racing announced Wednesday that Bubba Wallace and his crew will switch from car No. 23 to the No. 45 for the rest of the 2022 season. The arrangement will allow 23XI Racing to compete for the NASCAR Cup Series owner's championship, which they qualified for by virtue of the No. 45 team's win at Kansas Speedway earlier this season.

Although an injury suffered in a crash at Pocono Raceway prevented Kurt Busch -- the normal driver of the No. 45 -- from being able to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series driver's playoffs, the car number remained eligible for the Cup Series owner's championship playoffs, which are separate championship standings based on the results of a team and car number rather than an individual driver.

With Busch still sidelined, Wallace along with his crew and sponsors will change from running the No. 23 to running the No. 45, while the No. 45 team and crew will now run the No. 23 with substitute driver Ty Gibbs behind the wheel.

"After consulting with NASCAR, we made this decision in the best interest of the entire organization and for all our employees who helped earn a spot in the playoffs for the Owner's Championship through their hard work," Team president Steve Lauletta said in a statement. "While Ty has done a great job for us in the No. 45 car, we feel that Bubba's experience in this car, at the upcoming playoff tracks and his recent momentum will give 23XI the best chance at maximizing our points each weekend.

"We recognize that this is a unique opportunity in the Cup Series, and we're grateful to our employees and partners for standing with the team and supporting this decision."

While similar occurrences have taken place in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in the past, the swap between 23XI Racing's two teams is unusual for the Cup Series. While Wallace did not qualify for the driver's playoffs and thus cannot compete for the driver's championship, the No. 45 will remain eligible for the owner's championship so long as Wallace accumulates enough points for the car number to finish above the cutoff line in the first three rounds of the playoffs. The No. 45 team can then win the owner's championship if Wallace finishes ahead of all remaining owner's championship-eligible cars in the season finale at Phoenix.

Despite missing the playoffs due to a weak first half of the regular season, Wallace and his team have since turned their season around with a string of strong runs throughout the summer highlighted by a second-place finish at Michigan. The No. 45 team, meanwhile, is the No. 12 seed in the owner's playoffs after scoring one win, five top fives, and eight top 10s with Busch and Gibbs behind the wheel.