Tuesday, 21 January 2020

NASCAR Cup Series: 2020 driver lineup steadily coming together – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Cup Series: 2020 driver lineup steadily coming together – Beyond the Flag
24 Dec

The confirmation of Joey Gase at Rick Ware Racing for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season brings us one step closer to the completion of the full-time driver lineup.

We are already just one day away from Christmas and just over one week away from the New Year. As such, the NASCAR offseason is more than one month complete, and under two months remain until the Cup Series field is slated to ramp back up at Daytona International Speedway to get the 36-race 2020 season underway.

The past few weeks and months have been filled with drivers confirmations for the 2020 season, and Rick Ware Racing continued that trend by announcing their second driver for next year just over one month after confirming their first.

When Rick Ware’s team confirmed that J.J. Yeley is slated to compete full-time in the 2020 season, there were still quite a few remaining open seats left in next year’s driver lineup.

Skip ahead to now, and they have just confirmed that Joey Gase is set to compete alongside Yeley next year as their second full-time driver, and there are now just two remaining open seats left in that lineup.

Next year’s driver lineup is steadily coming together, and we should know exactly which full-time drivers will be with which organizations in 2020 in the very near future.

The only wild card to this equation appears to be MBM Motorsports.

Team owner Carl Long has confirmed that he would like to field the #66 car on a full-time basis in 2020, and doing so would likely result in Timmy Hill, who was confirmed by the team for the season-opening Daytona 500, being their full-time driver.

However, whether or not this comes to fruition may very well depend on if Hill can qualify for the Daytona 500, as MBM Motorsports do not have a charter and funding could be an issue.

If they do field an entry full-time in the 2020 season, this entry would be the 37th confirmed full-time entry. Meanwhile, just 36 charters are available. Only one charter is not being used right now, and that is the one that was used to field the #36 Ford at Front Row Motorsports this past season.

Bob Jenkins’s team recently downsized from three cars to two and confirmed that Michael McDowell will be back behind the wheel of the #34 Ford while rookie John Hunter Nemechek will replace the retired David Ragan behind the wheel of the #38 Ford. As a result, the organization cut the #36 team.

As for the two confirmed remaining full-time open seats for next year, one is at Spire Motorsports and the other is at Rick Ware Racing.

Spire Motorsports already have a charter to field the #77 Chevrolet full-time, but Rick Ware Racing have only two charters, so their third entry is slated to be a non-chartered entry unless they acquire the charter formerly used by Front Row Motorsports.

Spire Motorsports had eight different drivers throughout the 2019 season, and all signs point to them continuing to operate with multiple drivers in 2020.

Garrett Smithley has been rumored as a possible candidate to drive for Rick Ware Racing, but if that were to happen now, it would appear to be in a part-time role, as he appears slated to end up driving for JD Motorsports in the Xfinity Series like he has done since 2016. He drove part-time for Rick Ware Racing in the 2019 Cup Series season.

So as for the full-time entries, yes, there are still a few pieces to the puzzle that we don’t know about for next year. However, as far as the full-time drivers are concerned, that field may very well be set, depending on whether or not Rick Ware Racing end up with multiple drivers sharing their third full-time ride.

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

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The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to get underway in under eight weeks with the 62nd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Source: https://beyondtheflag.com/2019/12/24/nascar-cup-series-2020-driver-lineup-steadily-coming-together/


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