NASCAR has almost completed their 2020 season. In a pandemic, they still found a way to get all 36 points paying races in their premiere series scheduled. Yes, Texas has been a mess and Martinsville is coming up, but there’s nothing that’s going to hold these three races from getting eventually in between now and next Sunday, Nov. 8.
That’s a hell of an accomplishment in the sense that we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
Another feat is that Silly Season is almost done as well. I mean we’re not to the 11th month of the year yet and we now know who’s driving in all the big rides.
Jimmie Johnson’s replacement is essentially Alex Bowman as he will shift from the 88 to the 48 and Bowman’s replacement now is Kyle Larson as they will change the 88 back to the 5.
Larson’s replacement at Chip Ganassi Racing is Ross Chastain. Chastain, joins Kurt Busch with that team. Christopher Bell leaves the closing Leavine Family Racing to unseat Erik Jones in the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones, moves to the seat left vacant by Bubba Wallace with Richard Petty Motorsports and will drive the famed No. 43 Chevrolet. Wallace, moves to the new team started up by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan and will drive a No. 23 entry for them – likely a Toyota.
Clint Bowyer joins Johnson on the sidelines as he’s retiring too while Chase Briscoe moves up as his replacement.
Daniel Suarez leaves the Gaunt Brothers to join Trackhouse Entertainment Group with an alliance from Richard Petty Motorsports.
‘Matt DiBenedetto knows he’s back with the Wood Brothers but only for a year because Austin Cindric will drive the No. 21 Ford in 2022. Brad Keselowski is back with Team Penske but also only for 2021 so far. It’s likely either he or DiBenedetto for the No. 2 Ford in 2022.
That pretty well takes care of the big teams. So, what’s left?
JTG Daugherty Racing may or may not have an open seat depending on what they do with Ryan Preece. Ty Dillon is still looking for work but everything else appears to be drying up.
That leaves really the only thing left being the two seats at Spire and the other at Go Fas Racing. Everything else is secured.
Justin Haley is going to stay in NXS another year with Kaulig and he and Cindric will be racing for the title. Briscoe is moving up with Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones returning to Joe Gibbs Racing in that series as well.
JTG Daugherty Racing – No. 37 Chevrolet
Go Fas Racing – No. 32 Ford (part time)
Spire – No. 77 Chevrolet
Spire – No. 95 Chevrolet (number not necessarily “95” just was the number for LFR in which they purchased.
Premium Motorsports – No. 15 Chevrolet
Free Agents (Notable Drivers From Feeder Series’)
Hendrick Motorsports (4) – Chase Elliott is back through the 2022 season. William Byron and Alex Bowman each reached new deals with Byron through 2022 and Bowman through next season.
Chip Ganassi Racing (2) – Kurt Busch is back in part of his multi-year deal with a new teammate in Ross Chastain.
JTG Daugherty Racing (2) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be back in the 47 but the 37 remains open.
Richard Childress Racing (2) – Tyler Reddick has already indicated that he’ll be back in 2021 with Austin Dillon as the teammate. There’s no reason to expand to a third car with their alliance with Trackhouse Entertainment Group and RPM still.
Spire (2) – The 77 will be back but they also purchased the assets to Leavine Family Racing too.
Richard Petty Motorsports (1) – Erik Jones will drive this car in a new multi year deal.
Trackhouse Entertainment Group (1) – Daniel Suarez. Signed a deal last Wednesday.
StarCom Racing (1) – Quin Houff signed a two-year deal and will be back in 2021.
Premium Motorsports (1) – Ride is open.
Stewart-Haas Racing (4) – Three of their four drivers are back. Kevin Harvick has a deal through 2023, Aric Almirola has a one year extension while Cole Custer is back and I don’t see him leaving soon with who his dad is and his role with that team. Briscoe was announced Tuesday as their driver in the 14.
Team Penske (3) – All three drivers are back in 2021. Logano and Blaney have multi year deals with Keselowski reportedly working on a one year extension.
Roush Fenway Racing (2) – Both Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher are expected back.
Front Row Motorsports (2) – Both Michael McDowell and John Hunter Nemechek are expected to be back.
Wood Brothers (1) – Matt DiBenedetto is back for 2021 before moving way to Austin Cindric for 2022.
Go Fas Racing (1) – This ride is open
Joe Gibbs Racing (4) – Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are all back for 2021. Christopher Bell slides in to replace Erik Jones in the No. 20 Toyota.
Gaunt Brothers (1) – Ride is open
Leavine Family Racing