NXS/Truck Series 2020 Driver Lineups Taking Shape

There’s been a lot of movement in the NASCAR XFINITY Series as well as the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver lineups for 2020.

In terms of NXS, gone are the “Big 3.” They all move up to the Cup Series as rookies next season. Also gone is GMS Racing who announced on Thursday that they’ll focus solely on their Truck Series operation for next season.

But, what’s left?

The NASCAR XFINITY Series will have an overhaul at the top of the ladder for the 2020 season. Gone, are three of the best drivers to come through there. Christopher Bell won 16 times, 15 of which in his last two seasons. Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick each won nine races a piece during their brief careers in the series as well.

Seven of Custer’s wins came in 2019. He now has finished second in each of the last two championship’s too. Reddick, has won two straight championships with two different teams.

These three are all moving up to Cup Series rides next season. They depart 21 wins in 33 races in 2019.

So, who’s waiting to pick up the slack?

It starts with the fourth member of the Championship 4 in Justin Allgaier. He won for the first time since Sept. 2018 last weekend in Phoenix. While Allgaier struggled in Homestead, he closed out 2019 with 16 top 10 finishes in his last 17 starts to go along with eight top five finishes in his last 10 races. He will be a factor.

So will his teammate Noah Gragson. The rookie driver this past year had 22 top 10 finishes in his first season at the helm to go along with nine top 10 finishes in his No. 9 Chevrolet over the final 11 races to the year. Michael Annett also returns in his No. 1 Chevrolet too to fill out the JRM full time lineup.

Also don’t count out the Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe if he returns. Briscoe, had 26 top 10 finishes and a win at Iowa in July. He also had 15 top 10 finishes over his last 17 starts to the season.

Another young driver in Austin Cindric should be back with Team Penske. He had six top seven finishes over his last seven starts to the year including a runner-up and three, third place runs in his No. 22 Ford.

Kaulig Racing will feature two full time cars in Justin Haley and Ross Chastain.

Throw in Harrison Burton in a JGR ride and you have a solid core vying for the 2020 championship.

JGR has Burton, Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones running for them full-time in 2020. Richard Childress Racing found their part time driver in Myatt Snider. They want one full time car though. SHR also would like to remain in the series but do they go from two cars to one or remain a two car team.

Allgaier, Gragson, Annett, Cindric, Burton, Herbst, Jones, Haley and Chastain are the favorites with Briscoe potentially returning too.

SHR and RCR are the top rides left though.

In terms of the Truck Series, GMS expands to four full time drivers with Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt, Tyler Ankrum and now Zane Smith. Sam Mayer will run a fifth Truck part time.

Kyle Busch Motorsports will feature Raphael Lessard who replaces Todd Gilliland and Christian Eckes who replaces the departing Burton. Chandler Smith will make part time starts in the No. 51 Toyota.

Matt Crafton likely returns to ThorSport while they will work out deals for Grant Enfinger, Johnny Sauter and Ben Rhodes to return too.

Austin Hill will be back with Hattori Racing Enerprises for a second go around in the No. 16 Toyota.

The rest is still up in the air with ThorSport the next domino to fall.

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