We’re three weeks away from Daytona Speedweeks finally kicking off. With that said, the driver lineups are really starting to take full shape for not only the NASCAR Cup Series, but also the NASCAR Xfinity as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series too.
Just this week alone, we’ve had several Daytona 500 driver announcements. All that’s honestly left for the Cup Series, including Daytona 500 seats, are what NY Racing Team and Tommy Baldwin Racing are doing. Other than that, all the rides are now filled.
For NXS and Trucks, we saw several more deals announced too. Here’s a break down of each series.
Cup Series/Daytona 500
The 36 Chartered cars are now filled. As of now, we also have eight open entries going for four spots in trying to make the season opening Daytona 500.
We may have lost Germain and Leavine Family Racing in terms of teams, but have also gained Michael Jordan, Pitbull and others in part of new deals.
Plenty of rides also swapped hands. The top domino in free agency last year was what Hendrick Motorsports was going to do with the No. 48 Chevrolet. 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 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 Childress Racing. Pitbull bought into this team.
Go Fas Racing’s charter was purchased and turned into Live Fast Racing. BJ McLeod will drive the newly branded No. 78 Ford. Then you have Corey LaJoie to Spire in the No. 7 Chevrolet entry.
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.
Front Row Motorsports replaced John Hunter Nemechek with Anthony Alfredo.
The rest is history.
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. Kyle Larson becomes the fourth driver.
Rick Ware Racing (4) – Cody Ware and Josh Bilicki are full time. Joey Gase and Derrike Cope will do the Daytona 500 with Gase doing at least more than half of the races in 1 entry. James Davison is supposed to be in one of those cars part time too.
Chip Ganassi Racing (2) – Kurt Busch is back in part of his multi-year deal with a new teammate in Ross Chastain.
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. LaJoie is in the newly branded the No. 7 Chevrolet entry with the 77 car to have multiple drivers in it. Jamie McMurray will drive the car in the Daytona 500.
Richard Petty Motorsports (1) – Erik Jones will drive this car in a new multi year deal.
JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is back in the No. 47 Chevrolet
Trackhouse Entertainment Group (1) – Daniel Suarez is the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet.
StarCom Racing (1) – Quin Houff signed a two-year deal and will be back in 2021.
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 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 both back.
Front Row Motorsports (2) – Michael McDowell and Anthony Alfredo will race full time for them in 2021.
Wood Brothers (1) – Matt DiBenedetto is back for 2021 before moving way to Austin Cindric for 2022.
Live Fast Motorsports (1) – BJ McLeod will drive the car for this new team. They’ll keep the alliance with SHR that Go Fas Racing did.
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.
23XI (1) – Bubba Wallace
Non Charter Teams (8)
MBM Motorsports (2) – Timmy Hill and Chad Finchum will be in these cars.
JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – Ryan Preece is back in the No. 37 entry. Their charter was leased from Furniture Row Racing’s second car when they ended up closing shop but it’s not went elsewhere.
Front Row Motorsports (1) – David Ragan is in the No. 36 Ford for the Daytona 500.
Team Penske (1) – Austin Cindric will be in the No. 33 Ford for the Daytona 500.
Beard Motorsports (1) – Noah Gragson was announced last Thursday to be driving the No. 62 Chevrolet for the Daytona 500.
Kaulig Racing (1) – They’ll do more part time races in 2021 with the Daytona 500 being one of them. Kaz Grala will pilot the No. 16 Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 and AJ Allmendinger in the road course race a week later.
Gaunt Brothers (1) – Ty Dillon will be in the No. 96 Toyota for the Daytona 500.
We still have one team in NY Racing that has a car (No. 44) that has stated their intent to run the race. That would push the entry list up to 45. There’s also a possibility of Tommy Baldwin Racing entering as well to help this move up to 46 cars for 40 spots.
Go Fas Racing will be back but part time and not in the Daytona 500.
Daytona 500 Numbered Entry List
00- Quin Houff (StarCom Racing Chevrolet)
1- Kurt Busch (Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)
2- Brad Keselowski (Team Penske Ford)
3- Austin Dillon (RCR Chevrolet)
4- Kevin Harvick (SHR Ford)
5- Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)
6- Ryan Newman (Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
7- Corey LaJoie (Spire Motorsports Chevrolet)
8- Tyler Reddick (RCR Chevrolet)
9- Chase Elliott (HMS Chevrolet)
10- Aric Almirola (SHR Ford)
11- Denny Hamlin (JGR Toyota)
12- Ryan Blaney (Team Penske Ford)
14- Chase Briscoe R (SHR Ford)
15- Derrike Cope (Rick Ware Racing/StarCom Chevrolet)
16- Kaz Grala R (Kaulig Racing Chevrolet) *Non Charter
17- Chris Buescher (RFR Ford)
18- Kyle Busch (JGR Toyota)
19- Martin Truex Jr. (JGR Toyota)
20- Christopher Bell (JGR Toyota)
21- Matt DiBenedetto (Wood Brothers Racing Ford)
22 – Joey Logano (Team Penske Ford)
23- Bubba Wallace (23XI Racing Toyota)
24- William Byron (HMS Chevrolet)
33- Austin Cindric (Team Penske Ford) *Non Charter
34- Michael McDowell (Front Row Motorsports Ford)
36- David Ragan (Front Row Motorsports Ford) *Non Charter
37 – Ryan Preece (JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet) *Non Charter
38- Anthony Alfredo R (Front Row Motorsports Ford)
43- Erik Jones (Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet)
41- Cole Custer (SHR Ford)
42- Ross Chastsain (CGR Chevrolet)
47- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet)
48- Alex Bowman (HMS Chevrolet)
49- Chad Finchum (MBM Ford) *Non Charter (could be a different car number too)
51- Cody Ware (Petty Ware Racing Ford)
52- Josh Bilicki (Rick Ware Racing Ford)
53- Joey Gase (Rick Ware Racing Ford)
62- Noah Gragson R (Beard Motorsports Chevrolet) *Non Charter
66- Timmy Hill (MBM Ford) *Non Charter
77- Jamie McMurray (CGR/Spire Chevrolet)
78- BJ McLeod (Live Fast Motorsports Ford)
96- Ty Dillon (Gaunt Brothers Toyota) *Non Charter
99- Daniel Suarez (Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
There’s been a lot of movement here lately. Jordan Anderson formed a new team and will race full time in 2021. Ryan Sieg will be back in the No. 39 Ford as they’ll swap from Chevrolet’s to Ford power this year now. Same for family teams of Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Chevrolet) and Brandon Brown (No. 68 Chevrolet) just they’re back with their teams as well as the bowties again though. Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett and Noah Gragson have all signed extensions to remain with JR Motorsports full time. The No. 8 Chevrolet, the “all star car” will have Sam Mayer for 18 races, Josh Berry for 12, Miguel Paludo for three and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for one.
Daniel Hemric shifts from JRM to the No. 18 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing. He will replace Riley Herbst who is heading to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Chase Briscoe. Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones will be back with JGR for a three car full time line up.
SHR will stay with one car for Herbst.
Austin Cindric is back with Team Penske on this level for one more year. Brett Moffitt will move up to Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet full time. They will have a second car that will see Tyler Reddick drive it at Daytona, Blaine Perkins for six races and other drivers in select races after.
Kaulig Racing announced that Justin Haley will be back in the No. 11 Chevrolet while Jeb Burton will replace Chastain in the No. 10 Chevrolet. AJ Allmendinger will make this a three car full time effort in the No. 16 Chevrolet.
Myatt Snider will drive the return of the full time car for RCR. It will be the No. 2 Chevrolet.
Hattori Racing Enterprises is expecting to be back with Austin Hill in limited capacities in their No. 61 Toyota.
Then you have your smaller teams that made deals too.
Team Penske – Austin Cindric (No. 22 Chevrolet)
Stewart-Haas Racing – Riley Herbst (No. 98 Ford)
RSS – Ryan Sieg (No. 39 Chevrolet)
Joe Gibbs Racing – Daniel Hemric (No. 18 Toyota), Brandon Jones (No. 19 Toyota), Harrison Burton (No. 20 Toyota)
Sam Hunt Racing – Santino Ferrucci will drive the No. 26 Toyota for 20 races starting at Homestead. Brandon Gdovic as well as Kris Wright will share the car for the remaining 13.
JR Motorsports – Michael Annett (No. 1 Chevrolet), Justin Allgaier No. 7 Chevrolet), Noah Gragson (No. 9 Chevrolet), Sam Mayer, Josh Berry, Miguel Paludo and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Chevrolet)
Kaulig Racing – Jeb Burton (No. 10 Chevrolet), Justin Haley (No. 11 Chevrolet), AJ Allmendinger (No. 16 Chevrolet
JD Motorsports – Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 0 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 4 Chevrolet), Ryan Varkas (No. 6 Chevrolet), Colby Howard (No. 15 Chevrolet)
DGM Racing – Josh Williams (No. 92 Chevrolet), Caesar Bacarella, Alex Labbe, others (No. 90/No. 36 Chevrolets)
Mike Harmon Racing – Kyle Weatherman (No. 47 Chevrolet), Bayley Currey (No. 74 Chevrolet)
Richard Childress Racing – Myatt Snider (No. 2 Chevrolet)
Our Motorsports – Brett Moffitt (No. 02 Chevrolet), Tyler Reddick, Blaine Perkins, others (No. 03 Chevrolet)
Big Machine Racing Team – Jade Buford (No. 48 Chevrolet)
SS Green Light – Joe Graf Jr. (No. 08 Chevrolet), No. 07 still open
BJ McLeod Motorsports – Matt Mills (No. 5 Chevrolet), Jesse Little (No. 78 Chevrolet), Josh Bilicki, Stefan Parsons, Mason Massey, Ryan Ellis, Vinnie Miller to run 2 more cars.
Jordan Anderson Racing – Jordan Anderson (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Brandonbilt – Brandon Brown (No. 68 Chevrolet)
Jeremy Clements Racing – Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Martins Motorsport – Tommy Joe Martins (No. 44 Chevrolet)
RSS Racing/Reaume Brothers – new partnership but ride is still open
Jimmy Means Racing – Ride is open (No. 52 Chevrolet)
The big news of the offseason was that Thorsport will swap from Ford power to likely Toyota with their four seats still open.
This series has seen a lot of seats get taken lately too. DGR announced Hailie Deegan and Tanner Gray are back with them. Taylor Gray, Tanner’s younger brother, will drive seven races in the No. 17 Ford too. Derek Kraus is back in the No. 19 Toyota. Todd Gilliland is also back in the No. 38 Ford. We know Austin Hill is back with HRE for a third season. GMS will have Sheldon Creed, Tyler Ankrum and Zane Smith back with Chase Purdy moving up to replace the departing Moffitt. They also added Raphael Lessard for what was initially 12 races and now is a full time basis. John Hunter Nemechek will replace Lessard with KBM in the No. 4 Ford while Chandler Smith will move into Christian Eckes’ seat.
Niece will see Carson Hocevar drive the No. 40 Chevrolet, Ryan Truex in one and Brett Moffitt in the the No. 45 Chevrolet. Young’s Motorsports announced that Spencer Boyd will return to the No. 20 Chevrolet in 2021 too.
Toyota (4 full time)
KBM will feature two new drivers with John Hunter Nemechek (No. 4 Toyota) and Chandler Smith (No. 18 Toyota). HRE will have Austin Hill in the No. 16 Toyota with Stewart Friesen in the No. 52 Toyota too.
Ford (3 full time)
The Ford camp will have Hailie Deegan in the No. 1 and Tanner Gray in the No. 15 Ford. Front Row Motorsports also has Todd Gilliland back in the No. 38 Ford.
Chevrolet (11 full time)
GMS will have defending series champion Sheldon Creed (No. 2 Chevrolet) to go with Zane Smith (No. 21 Chevrolet), Chase Purdy (No. 23 Chevrolet) and Tyler Ankrum (No. 26 Chevrolet). Raphael Lessard comes over via KBM to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet.
Niece Motorsports will have Ryan Truex (No. 40 Chevrolet), Carson Hocevar (No. 42 Chevrolet) and Brett Moffitt (No. 45 Chevrolet) as their drivers.
Spencer Boyd returns to Young’s Motorsports’ No. 20 Chevrolet.
Austin Wayne Self will be in the No. 22 Chevrolet with Tim Veins in the No. 49 Chevy too.
Rackley W.A.R. created a new team and will have Timothy Peters in the No. 25 Chevy.
ThorSport is the only outlier with it being expected that all four drivers being back and them moving to Toyota power.