Aric Almiorla’s option for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season was picked up by Stewart-Haas Racing last week. Both he and Kevin Harvick (through 2021) will be back with the organization next season.
On Wednesday, JTG Daugherty Racing unveiled that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will replace the departing Chris Buescher in their open seat. Basically, Stenhouse and Buescher are swapping seats.
So, where does Silly Season now sit?
Currently, we have 26 confirmed driver/team confirmations.
Chip Ganassi Racing (1) – Kyle Larson is under contract and will be back in the No. 42 Chevrolet next season.
Hendrick Motorsports (4) – All four current drivers have deals in place for next season.
Richard Childress Racing (2) – Austin Dillon will be back in the famed No. 3 Chevrolet while incoming Tyler Reddick replaces Daniel Hemric in the No. 8 Chevrolet. The team is set on two cars.
Germain Racing (1) – Ty Dillon is under contract and will be back in the No. 13 Chevrolet for 2020. They’re not running a second car.
Richard Petty Motorsports (1) – Darrell Wallace Jr. is reportedly under contract again for 2020 and the team says that he will be back. No plans for a second car being run.
JTG Daugherty Racing (2) – Current rookie of the year candidate Ryan Preece is back for 2020 in the No. 47 Chevrolet. On
Team Penske (3) – All three current drivers are back for 2020 with no signs of expanding to a fourth car.
Stewart-Haas Racing (2) – Kevin Harvick is signed for two more years (2021) while Aric Almirola will be back for 2020. The other two seats are currently open but both drivers are in talks with SHR on coming back.
Roush/Fenway Racing (2) – Matt Kenseth returns for a second year in the No. 6 Ford while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is being replaced by Chris Buescher in the No. 17 Ford. No plans for a third full time car.
Front Row Motorsports (2) – Matt Tifft and Michael McDowell are back for 2020 as the organization will remain a three car operation. David Ragan is retiring at seasons end, so the No. 38 Ford is still open.
Wood Brothers (1) – Paul Menard is retiring at seasons end as Matt DiBenedetto will replace him in the famed No. 21 Ford.
Joe Gibbs Racing (4) – All four drivers are signed up for 2020.
Leavine Family Racing (1) – Christopher Bell will replace DiBenedetto in the No. 95 Toyota as the team will remain pat at one car.
Chip Ganassi Racing (1) – Kurt Busch is a free agent again at seasons end but it’s complicated on if he will be back or not. He’s said at times that they have talked about 2020 but has also recently said that they haven’t talked much about it either. It’s up in the air. I know he wants to remain with Ganassi in terms of racing other forms of motorsports (IndyCar/IMSA duties) and select NASCAR races when he’s done full time, but is he wanting to be done competing for championships at seasons end? If not, the team would welcome him back for a second year. If he done, then Ross Chastain initially was the top option but he just signed with Kaulig to run in their NXS program next season. That move should hint the direction that Busch/Ganassi is going.
Premium Motorsports (1) – They have a charter but this ride is TBA at the moment.
Spire Motorsports (1) – They have a charter and using multiple drivers in this ride this year. Unless something changes, expect a similar business model for 2020.
StarCom Racing (1) – Landon Cassill is in this ride now and they have a charter too. Who runs the car in 2020 is unknown.
Stewart-Haas Racing (2) – Clint Bowyer is close to an extension for 2020 in the No. 14 Ford. Daniel Suarez is further though in his No. 41 Ford. If Suarez is to return, it’s all predicated by sponsorship. If they can’t find enough funding, then Cole Custer would be the top pick to replace him. Custer, is ready for a Cup ride and SHR is working out deals for him in a potential ride elsewhere if Suarez finds enough funding to come back.
Go Fas Racing (1) – SHR is looking for an alliance and Go Fas is the rumored team they’re talking to. If it works out, Cole Custer could be a fit here. If it doesn’t, then don’t count out a return for Corey LaJoie. If neither of those work out, then Hemric could be in play as well.
Front Row Motorsports (1) – They were wanting to see how the dominoes will fall with JTG and SHR. I mean, why not? So far, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez and Daniel Hemric are the top free agents left. Busch, isn’t going to be leaving Ganassi’s fleet even if he retires full time from Cup racing. Bowyer, is close to an extension for 2020. That leaves Suarez and Hemric.