NASCAR America: NASCAR’s game of musical chairs will see fresh drivers in 2019

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AJ Allmendinger is the latest of more than a half-dozen drivers with uncertain futures in NASCAR.

Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Daniel Suarez and Matt DiBenedetto will leave their current ride to seek fortunes elsewhere – either in Cup or elsewhere. The game of musical chairs may leave some drivers without a seat.

Other drivers may find an opportunity of a lifetime.

On Wednesday, NASCAR America’s analysts detailed the changes they believe may be in the offing.

“The rumor is Ryan Preece is possibly going in the 47 car,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

What about the No. 95 Leavine Family ride that is being vacated by Kasey Kahne?

“That’s tough, because I thought Suarez would be going there,” Earnhardt said. “But now I’m hearing the possibility of him having conversations with the 41 team.”

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And if Suarez does not end up in the No. 95, that becomes a potential landing place for DiBenedetto – who earlier this year said he would gamble on finding a stronger ride than the one he currently has.

“(DiBenedetto) is literally cold calling these teams and setting up meetings with them,” Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt believes the game of musical chairs will leave Allmendinger, McMurray, Bayne and Matt Kenseth without a team next year. Kahne has announced his retirement from full-time Cup racing, which leaves several notable rides open.

“You’ve got guys like Ross Chastain out there who are putting themselves in these conversations,” Earnhardt said. “There’s a number of guys … that have been able to go out there and compete, run up front and make a name for themselves. … And so when the 1 car is looking for a driver are they now possibly considering putting Ross Chastain in that car?”

When hypothetically looking for a driver, Kyle Petty said he would choose Suarez.

“He’s got a lot of upside … that’s not even been tapped into yet,” Petty said.

Earnhardt would reach into his Xfinity stable and promote Justin Allgaier.

“He has a great relationship with his sponsor at Brandt and I believe he never got that opportunity to prove that he belongs in the Cup series.”

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