Most of the rides in NASCAR for the 2020 season have now been taken. As we close the book on the 2019 campaigns, the rides and who will go for the 2020 championship next year at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix are pretty much known.
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 in the No. 37 Chevrolet at JTG Daugherty Racing while Buescher moves back to Roush Fenway Racing and will drive the No. 17 Ford.
The only thing really open in Cup are now two seats open at Front Row Motorsports. David Ragan will retire while Matt Tifft takes time off to get his health in order again.
Go Fas Racing also has an alliance with SHR now and has a ride available. The team is high on Corey LaJoie, so count him as in the mix to return to the team for a second straight season.
The top domino now has to be Suarez. SHR wants to retain him and he has 95-percent of the funding available. With an alliance, do they reach another deal and place him there? If so, what does that do to LaJoie?
Does Suarez and/or LaJoie go to Front Row?
This is all that’s really left 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 a free agent but I can’t see Ford or SHR letting him get away. Justin Allgaier should be back with JR Motorsports, as should Michael Annett and Noah Gragson.
Austin Cindric could come back, but he could also be in the mix at Front Row Motorsports or Go Fas too. 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?
In Trucks, GMS is set now with Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Tyler Ankrum. Kyle Busch Motorsports named Raphael Lessard and Christian Eckes as the full time drivers in 2020. Chandler Smith should be in the mix for the 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.