Monday, 27 January 2020

NASCAR Cup Series: What seats are still open for 2020? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Cup Series: What seats are still open for 2020? – Beyond the Flag
14 Dec

Much of the driver lineup for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season is set, but there are a few seats that remain open heading into mid-December.

It has been almost one month since Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch was crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion for the second time in his career and in the last five years with his season-ending victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford EcoBoost 400, meaning the offseason between the 2019 and 2020 seasons is roughly one-third of the way complete.

The driver lineup for the 2020 season is slowly but surely taking shape, with an overwhelming majority of teams having already confirmed their lineups for next year.

However, there are still a few seats without confirmed drivers as we head into mid-December and approach Christmas and the New Year, so there will still be a few things to keep your eye on moving forward.

As far as the top-tier teams are concerned, all the seats are filled. However, there are still six full-rides available, of which five are chartered, following the recent confirmation of Brennan Poole as the full-time driver of the chartered #15 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports.

Three of these rides, all chartered, are at Front Row Motorsports. Matt Tifft and the team parted ways on good terms after he had a seizure at Martinsville Speedway in late October and made the decision to focus on his health while David Ragan retired and Michael McDowell is simply no longer under contract with the organization.

There are rumors that Front Row Motorsports will go back to operating as a two-car team like they did before the rookie Tifft arrived ahead of the 2019 season, but those rumors have not been confirmed.

As of now, there are three open seats at Bob Jenkins’s Ford team — the #34 Ford, the #36 Ford and the #38 Ford. John Hunter Nemechek, who replaced Tifft in three of the four races he missed at the end of the 2019 season, has been rumored to end up in one of them.

Another one of the two chartered rides is the #77 Chevrolet at Spire Motorsports, a seat that was shared by eight drivers in its maiden year in 2019 and will likely be shared again in 2020 unless a driver with substantial financial backing comes along and wants to spend it on a, relatively speaking, backmarker team — an unlikely scenario.

The other chartered ride is at Rick Ware Racing. They are set to run three full-time cars in the 2020 season, although only two are chartered.

With that being said, it shouldn’t matter all that much considering the fact that the 2019 season featured only one race (out of 36) with more than 40 cars on the entry list. J.J. Yeley has been confirmed as the driver for one of their chartered rides while Garrett Smithley has been rumored as another.

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Which drivers will end up in the rides that are still open for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season? There are still slightly more than two months to go before the season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 16 with the 62nd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.



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