NASCAR Silly Season is well underway for 2019. Stay up to date with all the recent news as teams set their driver lineups for next year.
Martin Truex Jr.
Current Team: #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Potential New Team: #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Update (9/5): It seems almost certain that Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn will end up at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019. Reported by Motorsport.com, the duo will bring sponsor Bass Pro Shops with them to the No. 19 car. That leaves Daniel Suarez to search for a ride in 2019.
Update (9/4): Furniture Row Racing announced they will cease operations after 2018.
Update (8/31): Adam Stern reported that Bass Pro Shops could sponsor Truex if he ended up at Joe Gibbs Racing.
5-hour ENERGY announced in July that they would be ending their NASCAR involvement. This leaves Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions, without a sponsor for a majority of the season.
At Bristol, Truex said he will know more in the upcoming weeks.
“Right now, we need sponsorship,” said Truex. “That’s as simple as it gets. So it’s hard to say. Is there a 50 percent chance we get that in a couple weeks or is there a 100 percent chance or is there 2 percent, I don’t know. I can tell you that everything really is based upon that.”
It was reported that Kurt Busch is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the season. Busch’s potential move opens up a landing spot for Truex to join one of the best teams in the series at the peak of his career.
Current Team: #41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Potential New Team: #1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Motorsport.com reported in August that Busch and sponsor Monster Energy are leaving Stewart-Haas Racing for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019.
Busch will replace Jamie McMurray in the #1 Chevrolet.
Current Team: #6 Roush Fenway Ford (Part-Time)
Potential New Team: #6 Roush Fenway Ford (Full-Time)
When Matt Kenseth replaced Trevor Bayne earlier this season for a slate of races, it was reported that Bayne would unlikely return in 2019.
Fast forward to August, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. thinks Matt Kenseth will return in 2019 in a full-time capacity.
Earnhardt Jr. might have the best knowledge of this with reports that Bayne will drive in the XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports in 2019, replacing retiring Elliott Sadler.
Current Team: #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Potential New Team: #95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota
The news of Furniture Row Racing closing their doors at the end of the 2018 season has sent a ripple effect through the Cup garage. Suarez is the driver impacted next.
With Truex Jr. likely moving to replace him in the No. 19 car, Suarez will have limited options available. Staying with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup Series is not an option but joining a team with a technical alliance is. The open spot at Leavine Family Racing due to Kasey Kahne’s retirement is a logical option for Suarez.
AJ Allmendinger and Chris Buescher
Current Team: #47/#37 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Potential New Team: Unknown
Recent reports have indicated that AJ Allmendinger will be replaced by Ryan Preece in 2019. Preece currently drivers part-time in the XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Allmendinger is signed through 2020 and has four top-5 finishes and no wins in the races since his contract extension.
Daniel Hemric’s name has been mentioned as the second driver to join Preece as a new face at JTG Racing in 2019. Hemric currently drives in the XFINITY Series for Richard Childress Racing and raced in his first Cup race at Richmond in April.
Current Team: #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (XFINITY Series)
Potential New Team:#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (XFINITY Series)
Update (9/4): With the news of Furniture Row Racing closing their doors, that leaves no available spot in the Cup Series for Bell. His only realistic option would be with Leavine Family Racing and a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.
With a vacated spot at Furniture Row Racing, Christopher Bell seems like a likely fit. Bell drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series. Similar to Erik Jones in 2017, JGR will want to move Bell up to the Cup Series as soon as possible.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.