2020 NASCAR Silly Season Update

Aric Almiorla’s option for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season was picked up by Stewart-Haas Racing. Both he and Kevin Harvick (through 2021) will be back with the organization next season. So, where does Silly Season now sit?

Currently, we have 22 confirmed driver/team confirmations.

Confirmed Rides

Chevrolet (10)

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 (1) – Current rookie of the year candidate Ryan Preece is back for 2020 in the No. 47 Chevrolet.

Ford (7)

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 (1) – Matt Tifft is back as the team will remain a three car operation. David Ragan is retiring at seasons end while Michael McDowell was expected to be back in the No. 34 Ford but he wouldn’t comment on the status though which leads me to believe something else may be in the works.

Wood Brothers (1) – Paul Menard is retiring at seasons end as Matt DiBenedetto will replace him in the famed No. 21 Ford.

Toyota (5)

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.

Open Rides

Chevrolet (5)

Chip Ganassi Racing (1) – Kurt Busch is a free agent again at seasons end up 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 or John Hunter Nemechek would be the top picks.

JTG Daugherty Racing (1) – With Chris Buescher going to RFR, the No. 37 Chevrolet seat is open. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Hemric are the top choices but don’t count out Chastain or others in the mix.

Premium Motorsports (1) – They have a charter but this ride is TBA at the moment. If Chastain doesn’t land with Ganassi or JTG, this is his ride.

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.

Ford (5)

Front Row Motorsports (2) – McDowell should be back but he’s not committing that he will be. So, for now, this team has two open seats. Stenhouse Jr., Hemric, Chastain and others could make sense here.

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 or Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would be the top picks to replace him. Custer, is ready for a Cup ride and SHR is working out deals for him in a potential ride elsewhere. More on that later. Stenhouse and Tony Stewart share similar backgrounds while Stenhouse also being represented by Harvick too. He’d make a ton of sense to remain with Ford and shift over to SHR.

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 it does work out and Suarez isn’t retained by SHR, then he could end up here also could Stenhouse Jr. is an alliance role as well. A lot of moving pieces with Go Fas and SHR.

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