Fitting that it’s Christmas season and the NASCAR Cup Series Silly Season for 2020 is almost wrapped up. Heading into this week, there were just a few select seats open. In just the last 24 hours, three full time seats were taken.
Brennan Poole will drive the No. 15 entry for Premium Motorsports. That deal was announced on Wednesday. On Thursday, Front Row Motorsports announced that Michael McDowell will return in the No. 34 Ford while John Hunter Nemechek will replace the retiring David Ragan in the No. 38 Ford.
Now, what’s left?
Really, it’s just whatever FRM does with the No. 36 Ford and its charter and the few field fuller rides. That’s it.
Kurt Busch will be back with Chip Ganassi Racing. Erik Jones is back with Joe Gibbs Racing. The “Big 3” in the NASCAR XFINITY Series all move up to Cup with Christopher Bell replacing Matt DiBenedetto with Leavine Family Racing, Tyler Reddick replacing Daniel Hemric at Richard Childress Racing and Cole Custer stepping up into the No. 41 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing in a replacement role for Daniel Suarez.
Two of those three drivers that are being replaced have found work elsewhere now too. DiBenedetto shifts to the Wood Brothers to replacing the retiring Paul Menard. Hemric, will move back to the XFINITY Series and share the No. 8 Chevrolet with JR Motorsports.
Other moves are virtually a ride swap between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chris Buescher. Stenhouse, replaces Buescher at JTG Daugherty Racing while Buescher moves back to Roush Fenway Racing and will drive the No. 17 Ford. Stenhouse though, will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet while Ryan Preece slides over to the No. 37 Chevy.
Go Fas Racing previously announced an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and a fwe weeks ago announced that Corey LaJoie will return to the team for 2020 as well.
The top driver domino now has to be Daniel Suarez. SHR wanted to retain him as he had 95-percent of the funding available. He has money but now no where to go in Cup.
For NXS, there could be a lot in the mix still. The top three drivers this season move up. Hemric, is moving back down and there’s a possibility Suarez does too. Chase Briscoe is the top free agent but could return to Stewart-Haas Racing for another go around. Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Michael Annett are all back with JR Motorsports.
Austin Cindric should be back with Penske. Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones and Riley Herbst will race full time for JGR and compete for a championship. Ross Chastain and Justin Haley will race full time with Kaulig Racing.
We do have openings for Custer’s car at SHR as well as Tyler Reddick’s with RCR. Do those get filled?
RCR is looking for a full time driver. That’s where Suarez could fit in nicely.
In Trucks, GMS is set now with Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt, Zane Smith and Tyler Ankrum. Kyle Busch Motorsports named Raphael Lessard and Christian Eckes as the full time drivers in 2020. Chandler Smith will race on a part-time role.
Todd Gilliland should slide over to replace the departing Ankrum with his dads team at DGR Crosley.
ThorSport has some announcements to unveil but I don’t see much of a change in their driver lineup coming.