What was expected to be a comparatively quiet offseason has turned into quite an active one—and we’re not even into the offseason yet! In case you’ve been confused by the dribs and drabs of information that’s leaked out so far, here’s an article to catch you up:
Is Christopher Bell FINALLY moving up to the Cup Series next year? Yes he is. He’ll be driving Leavine Family Racing’s 95 car, which will have an “enhanced” alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD (so basically they’ll be like Furniture Row Racing). Rheem will join Procore as a major sponsor.
|Matty D will be in a Ford next year
So what’s happening to Matt DiBenedetto? The darling of the internet fanbase found himself out of a ride briefly due to Joe Gibbs Racing essentially having five drivers for four cars. However, in a surprise move, Matty D has been hired to drive the Wood Brothers 21 car next season.
WHAT? How’d that happen? Paul Menard announced his retirement and, when informing Wood Brothers’ management of his decision, apparently put in a good word for Matty D.
So what’s the catch? Oddly enough there doesn’t seem to be one—Menards will be returning as a major sponsor and the alliance with Team Penske will be continuing.
Impressive. OK, so what’s this late-breaking news about Roush Fenway Racing? This past week RFR stunned the Nascar world by announcing that Chris Buescher—who drove for the team in the Xfinity Series—will be returning to drive the 17 car next year.
So where does that leave Ricky Stenhouse Jr.? Without a ride (currently) for 2020.
Did the arrival of Ryan Newman show them how poorly the team was doing with Stenhouse as their “lead driver”, or did Newman just do his usual “great first year with a new team” move and make the ride seem better than it was? Yes.
Hmm, well, what about Buescher’s old ride at JTG-D? The 37 car is now the top open ride for next year. Meanwhile, Ryan Preece is assumed to be returning to the 47 car.
|Tyler Reddick is all but confirmed for
the 8 Cup car next year
Who could wind up in the 37? Stenhouse is a possibility assuming he doesn’t have an overriding deal with Ford. Otherwise Daniel Hemric could slide into the ride.
Doesn’t Hemric race the 8 car for RCR? Well, he did. Hemric was informed that he won’t be retained for 2020.
Who’ll be in the 8 car next year then? Tyler Reddick is all but confirmed and is expected to bring some of his Xfinity Series sponsors along with him.
OK, so two of the Xfinity Series “Big 3” are moving up next year. What about Cole Custer? Stay with me because this one’s a little tricky: Stewart-Haas Racing (who’s CEO is Cole’s dad) is rumored to be signing GoFAS Racing (the 32 car) as a “satellite team” similar to JGR with Leavine Family Racing. Cole Custer would likely drive the 32 with heavy SHR support UNLESS they chose to let go of either Clint Bowyer or Daniel Suarez.
Why would Bowyer or Suarez be let go? Both are in contract years (although Suarez apparently has a “roll over” option) and both have had less-than-stellar years. Also, Bowyer’s car frequently lacks sponsorship.
OK, ok—so if Custer gets the 32 car, where would Corey LaJoie go? LaJoie’s been rumored for the 38 car at Front Row Motorsports.
Why’s that? David Ragan announced his retirement from full-time racing effective the end of the year.
I think I got it all now. Anybody NOT making any big changes? Hendrick Motorsports isn’t expected to make any major driver changes, and sponsorship is relatively locked-in except for the 88 which is losing Nationwide. Team Penske is expected to return with the same lineup of drivers and sponsors. No driver changes have been announced or expected for the single car teams of Germain Racing and RPM.
Wait, did you leave off Ganassi? Yeah, because while Kyle Larson is locked-in for next year, Kurt Busch (again) is in a contract year (again) but is expected to return (again) with sponsor Monster (again).