Chip Ganassi Racing has a prime seat available for 2021. The seat in the No. 42 Chevrolet is currently open. We always knew it would be though because Kyle Larson was an impending free agent.
But, CGR was also hoping to retain Larson for a contract extension too. Then, Easter Night happens and Larson uses a racial slur which in turn cost him a ride.
CGR replaced Larson with Matt Kenseth for the duration of the season. Now that we’re entering the midway point soon, what’s the plans for that car for 2021?
“I think the team is more focused on now, being mid-season, and what we need to do to get that car into the playoffs,” said Tony Lunders, team manager of CGR. “We’re back in the points a little bit and we need to win a race.
“So, I think our focus is how do we build that group now to try to get towards the playoffs, win a race, and we’ll let the next year stuff take care of itself as the year goes on.
“Hopefully, the success is there. Certainly, there are others that know that seat is open and would contact us. And that’s all good, but I think our main focus now is just to get the performance and let the rest take care of itself.”
One of the options could be to bring Ross Chastain up. He’s a Ganassi development driver racing in the Xfinity Series for Kaulig. Another option could be to sit back and wait to see who’s available when the chips start falling elsewhere.
The next option could be to keep Kenseth too. Lunders, said that Kenseth would be an option if Kenseth is interested and of success is there with him too.
“We wanted to get some races with Matt (Kenseth) under us, kind of build that effort there and see where it took us,” Lunders said. “If Matt decided at some point that he’s enjoying what’s going on and we’re having some success, maybe there’s something more there.”
Kenseth, has made 11 starts in that car this season with a best result of 10th. That coincidentally enough was his first start with then at Darlington.
Kenseth, was sort of at a disadvantage anyways. He hasn’t raced since 2018. He’s never raced this aero package, never drove a Chevy and has never worked with CGR before. Oh yeah, he gets no practice either.
We knew it would be a slow start for him anyways. So, if he wants to keep this ride, he’s got a shot. He just needs to start finishing better on a consistent basis.