Tuesday, 21 January 2020

NASCAR Cup Series: The 2020 driver lineup is pretty much set – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Cup Series: The 2020 driver lineup is pretty much set – Beyond the Flag
14 Dec

Following the recent Front Row Motorsports confirmation, the driver lineup for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season is pretty much set.

The last several months have featured driver confirmation after driver confirmation for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, and the driver lineup has slowly come together over that time.

Now it is basically set.

Entering the week, there were still seven full-time seats without confirmed drivers for next year. Then Premium Motorsports confirmed Brennan Poole as the driver of the #15 Chevrolet.

That announcement was following up by Front Row Motorsports announcing that they will be retaining Michael McDowell behind the wheel of the #34 Ford and signing John Hunter Nemechek to drive the #38 Ford, eliminating the #36 Ford in the process.

As a result, there are just three full-time seats, including two chartered rides, without confirmed drivers for the 2020 season, and they are all at low-tier teams.

The #77 Chevrolet at Spire Motorsports, which was driven by eight drivers in its first year in the series in 2019, still doesn’t have a confirmed driver. It likely won’t have just one confirmed driver. The most likely scenario for Spire Motorsports is having several drivers behind the wheel of the #77 Chevrolet once again in 2020 via a rotation that is managed throughout the season, almost on a week to week basis.

The other two open seats are at Rick Ware Racing, and only one is chartered. The team ran a total of 29 driver-car combinations throughout the 2019 season, so J.J. Yeley being confirmed as their full-time driver of one car is quite a bit interesting, and given their history, most recently the situation with Ray Black Jr. in 2018, it will be interesting to see if that deal lasts.

As for the two open seats, Garrett Smithley has been rumored to end up in one of them, but that could very well be in a part-time role since he has been rumored to return to JD Motorsports in the Xfinity Series in a part-time role.

With all things considered, it would be surprising if Rick Ware Racing end up confirming another full-time driver for next year, much less sticking to a single driver in a single car for an entire 36-race season — and much less with multiple full-time drivers considering the fact that Yeley is already under contract. It has never happened before.

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With all of the high-profile driver confirmations having been made for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, keep your eye on the situations at Spire Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing with just over two months remaining before the season is scheduled to begin with the 62nd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Sunday, February 16.

Source: https://beyondtheflag.com/2019/12/14/nascar-cup-series-2020-driver-lineup-pretty-much-set/


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