Unfortunately, two young budding NASCAR stars are free agents right now. I don’t expect that to last long though. Both Chase Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek don’t have rides lined up for the 2020 NASCAR season.
Nemechek, found out that GMS Racing will shut their doors on their XFINITY Series program for 2020. They’ll focus on their Truck program as they expand from two teams to four full time and a fifth part time entry.
The second generation driver is now left without a ride.
Nemechek, had seven top eight finishes over his last eight starts on the season including six straight. He’s made 51 NXS starts over the last two years with one win, 12 top five finishes and 30 top 10’s. He’s also had Truck Series experience with six wins, 28 top five finishes and 49 top 10’s in 99 starts.
On top of that, he filled in for Matt Tifft with Front Row Motorsports for the final three races of the Cup Series season in the No. 36 Ford. Nemechek, actually did a great job in that role and should be in consideration for one of their two seats for 2020.
So should Chase Briscoe. The Ford development driver raced a full season in NXS for the first time in 2019. He did so with Stewart-Haas Racing. Briscoe, also made 17 starts in a limited role with SHR in 2018 too.
Briscoe, and Indiana native, had 26 top 10 finishes this past season including a win at Iowa in July. He also had 15 top 10 finishes over his last 17 starts to the year.
SHR hasn’t announced their 2020 driver lineup yet in the series as Cole Custer moves up to a Cup ride with them. Do they remain a two car team, go back to one car or shut their doors completely? How does Briscoe factor into those plans?
Ford likely wants to keep him and there’s not many places to house him in NXS other than SHR or Penske. I don’t see a return to the Truck Series being very beneficial to him either unless in the right situation.
Briscoe, ran one full season in Trucks and won the season finale that year in 2017 with Brad Keselowski Racing. He’s made 25 Truck Series starts and has won two times, 11 top fives and 16 top 10’s. He did race for ThorSport at Eldora the last two years and could be in the mix for a full time seat with them in 2020 if everything else fails.
For Nemechek, remaining with Chevrolet would be a prime option as Richard Childress Racing is looking for a full time driver. They want another young developmental driver, so Nemechek and Snider as their two options would be a great lineup.
But, if Nemechek wants to go the Ford route, going down to the Truck Series with ThorSport makes sense, so does a Cup ride with FRR. Also, a ride with SHR would be smart as well.
Same for Briscoe. ThorSport, SHR or FRR are his best options.
There’s seats out there available on all three levels, they should be at the top with Daniel Suarez as the other in terms of who’s available.