Keep your eyes peeled for these five drivers during the Sprint Cup race weekend at Pocono Raceway, which culminates with Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 on NBCSN.
Four days after the end of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, NASCAR announced the series will receive a minor name change for the 2020 season.
The series will be called the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series when the season starts in February at Daytona International Speedway.
This is the second name change for the series in two years.
This season saw the name change from the Camping World Truck Series, which had been the title from 2009-2018.
Gander Outdoors and Camping World are owned by the same company.
Next year will also see a different name for the Cup Series. With the series going to a new sponsorship model, it will simply be called the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR’s championship weekend in Miami has come and gone and with it came a flurry of driver announcements from teams about the 2020 racing season.
Here’s a look at all the official driver announcements made so far for next season.
OPEN RIDES ANNOUNCED FOR 2020
No. 38: Front Row Motorsports must replace David Ragan, who stated Aug. 14 that 2019 would be his final season running a full schedule.
No. 36: Front Row Motorsports announced Nov. 13 it was parting ways with Matt Tifft so he could focus on his health following his seizure at Martinsville in March. Tifft said he could not commit to racing in 2020.
ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2020
No. 8: Richard Childress Racing made it official Oct. 2 that Tyler Reddick will move to Cup in 2020 and drive the No. 8 car.
No. 10: Aric Almirola confirmed Oct. 11 he signed an extension to race for Stewart-Haas Racing.
No. 13: Ty Dillon posted a video Sept. 6 on Instagram refuting rumors that he would retire after this season. He has a contract with Germain Racing through 2020.
No. 14: Clint Bowyer was announced Oct. 17 as returning to Stewart-Haas Racing for a fourth season.
No. 17: Chris Buescher will take over the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 ride in 2020 after the team announced Sept. 25 that it would part ways with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after this season.
No. 20: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Sept. 6 that it had signed Erik Jones to an extension. It is a one-year extension for the 2020 season.
No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing announced Nov. 15 Cole Custer will replace Daniel Suarez.
JTG Daugherty Racing: It was announced Oct. 16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will join Ryan Preece at the two-car team, essentially swapping seats with Chris Buescher. The team said that an announcement on car number and sponsor would come later.
AMONG THOSE YET TO ANNOUNCE DEALS FOR 2020
Daniel Suarez — The driver revealed Nov. 14 he would not return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020 after one season driving the No. 41.
Corey LaJoie – The driver hasn’t announced his plans for 2020, but he said in October he and Go Fas Racing were “working toward” him returning to the No. 32 Ford. The team announced on Nov. 1 it would enter a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing next year and that “2020 driver negotiations are still ongoing.”
Joe Gibbs Racing — Announced Oct. 17 Harrison Burton will drive its No. 20 Toyota full-time in 2020. Announced Oct. 31 Brandon Jones would return for a third year in the No. 19. Revealed Nov. 5 it would field a third full-time entry with Riley Herbst in the No. 18.
JR Motorsports — Justin Allgaier will return to the team for a fifth year in the No. 7 Chevrolet. The No. 8 car will be driven by Daniel Hemric for 21 races, Jeb Burton 11 races and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for one race. Noah Gragson will also return for a second season in the No. 9 car, while Michael Annett returns for a fourth year with the team in the No. 1 car.
Richard Childress Racing — Has not announced its driver plans for 2020, but Richard Childress said after Tyler Reddick claimed the Xfinity title that it would field a full-time entry.
Stewart-Haas Racing – The team has not announced plans for the No. 00 Ford with Cole Custer moving to Cup or whether Chase Briscoe will return to the No. 98.
JD Motorsports — Jesse Little will compete full-time for the team.
How many Cup championships will Kyle Busch win in his career?
Dustin Long: Three. This winner-take-all format just makes it so difficult for anyone to collect several series titles in a row. In the future, the gold standard for drivers will be three titles and Busch will get there.
Daniel McFadin: I think Busch can at least get to four titles before it’s all said and done. Repeating in this format is hard, he’s the first to do it in six years. But given that Busch has been in the Championship 4 in all but one year under the elimination format is evidence enough for me that if anyone can get more than two it’s him.
Jerry Bonkowski: At 34 years old and having won two titles in the last five years, I think it’s very possible Busch can win another two, maybe even three more championships in his career. Even though he’s now raced full-time in Cup for 15 years, he is so competitive that I don’t see him retiring for at least another 10 years. There’s lots of championship opportunities to be had in that period of time.
What will you most remember about the Cup championship race years from now?
Dustin Long: The mistake by Martin Truex’s team with the tires and how sedate Kyle Busch’s demeanor seemed to be after he won his second series title. After being declared an underdog by many and ending a 21-race winless streak, one expected Rowdy to celebrate in a manner that would have included a bit more directed to those doubters.
Daniel McFadin: Martin Truex Jr.‘s tire mishap. In almost 25 years of watching and six years of covering NASCAR I can’t remember that happening in a race. For something so fluky to hamper Truex’s championship chances is remarkable. It proves anything can happen in a winner-take-all race.
Jerry Bonkowski: It was one of the calmest, most relaxed times I’ve ever seen Kyle Busch. He knew what was on the line and went out and simply did it. He didn’t get overly aggressive or tried to overdrive his car. He merely was patient, waited for the right opportunity, grabbed it for the taking at the right time and sailed on into the history books. One other thing: while the other three Championship 4 drivers and crew chiefs constantly talked about why they deserved to be the champs in interviews during the week leading up to the race, Busch and Adam Stevens were fairly quiet, didn’t fret about the 21-race winless streak and let their actions ultimately do the talking for them that needed to be done. That’s the way to do it.
Dustin Long: Denny Hamlin. Think Toyota’s advantage carries over to next year with many other teams more focused on preparing for the NextGen car in 2021. Hamlin will finally get his moment as a champion.
Daniel McFadin: It’s a tossup between Hamlin and Elliott. Aside from Hamlin’s winless season in 2018, he and Elliott at this point feel like the only drivers who can put together consistent seasons worthy of a championship. Elliott’s steadily improved over the last three years, winning six times, while Hamlin just produced his best year in a decade. My gut says Hamlin.
Jerry Bonkowski: This could be the hardest question we’ve had all year because it could just as easily be phrased “who among these drivers will never win a championship?” You may be surprised at my answer, but I’m going with William Byron. I think another year or two with Chad Knaus and he’ll be ready to be considered a true championship contender. I’m less optimistic that any of the others will win a title any time soon.
It looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. will complete a row on his Daytona 500-themed Bingo card next year.
Daytona International Speedway announced Monday that the NBC Sports analyst will be the honorary starter and will wave the green flag to begin the Feb. 16 Daytona 500.
A two-time winner of the “Great American Race,” it will mark the third year in a row Earnhardt has been part of the pre-race ceremonies for the event. In 2018, he gave the command to start engines and this year he was the honorary pace truck driver.
Include a win in the race, his 2011 pole as one box and that’s Bingo.
“The only thing left for Dale now is for him to sing the National Anthem prior to the Daytona 500,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile in a press release. “That probably won’t happen. But what will happen, come February, will be another outpouring of support from race fans about Dale’s involvement. There’s no way to exaggerate how much he means to the fans and to NASCAR. Any role he plays on a Daytona 500 weekend is significant.”
In the press release, Earnhardt joked “One thing is certain, I’m not doing any singing at Daytona no matter how hard they ask. But I am going to enjoy waving the green flag in February. The start of the Daytona 500 is a special moment in not only NASCAR but all of sports. I am truly honored to be part of that.”