The 2019 NASCAR season is now within view as we have entered the month of January.
That means a lot of highly anticipated changes in the sport will be visible on track.
Before we get to what to expect from each team specifically, here’s what Cup teams will be dealing with in 2019.
Inspired by what was used in the 2018 All-Star Race, the new rules package will feature a tapered spacer to control the engines instead of a restrictor plate. Teams will have 550 horsepower at tracks 1.33 miles and larger and 750 horsepower at tracks shorter than 1.33 miles.
Some crew chiefs, including Cole Pearn, have said the new package could result in racing that resembles what is seen in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
One team that will not be present this year is Furniture Row Racing, which ceased operations on its No. 78 Toyota after 2018 due to a lack of sponsorship.
Rick Ware Racing will field two cars with two charters. It has not announced drivers for either car.
Spire Sports + Entertainment will field the No. 77 with a charter purchased from Furniture Row Racing. A driver has not been announced.
Obaika Racing will field rookie Tanner Berryhill in the No. 97 in its first full-time season.
(Drivers are listed in order of their car number with where they finished in the points last year)
No. 00 Landon Cassill (57th)
What’s new: Cassill is slated to compete full-time for StarCom Racing, which bought a charter from Richard Childress Racing. Cassill, with 29 starts, is the only driver with more than seven for the team.
What’s the same: StarCom will again compete with a Chevrolet model in its second full season of competition.
No. 1 Kurt Busch (7th)
What’s new: Kurt Busch moves from Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Jamie McMurray, who drove the No. 1 for nine years. McMurray will be an analyst for Fox Sports. CGR will be the sixth team Busch has competed for in Cup.
What’s the same: Matt McCall is back to crew chief the No. 1 after four years with McMurray.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski (8th)
What’s new: Keselowski will have a new spotter after the departure of Joey Meier.
What’s the same: Crew chief Paul Wolfe and Keselowski enter their ninth season together. With the separation of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, that makes Wolfe and Keselowski the longest-tenured driver/crew chief pairing in the series.
No. 3 Austin Dillon (13th)
What’s new: Dillon will have Danny Stockman Jr. as his crew chief, replacing Justin Alexander. Stockman is Dillon’s fourth crew chief in six full-time seasons in Cup. Dillon won a Xfinity and Truck Series title Stockman. Dillon will also have a new teammate in Daniel Hemric.
What’s the same: Dillon’s scheme for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona will be a tribute to Dale Earnhardt’s scheme in the 1998 All-Star Race.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick (3rd)
What’s the same: Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers enter their sixth year together at Stewart-Haas Racing.
No. 6 Ryan Newman (17th)
What’s the same: The No. 6 team enters the season looking for its first win since 2011.
No. 8 Daniel Hemric (2019 is rookie year)
What’s new: Hemric moves up to Cup after two years with Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series. He steps into what was No. 31 car.
What’s the same: Luke Lambert returns as crew chief for the operation after five years working with Ryan Newman.
No. 9 Chase Elliott (6th)
What’s new: Chase Elliott enters the Cup season as the Most Popular Driver for the first time in his career after he earned his first three series wins in 2018.
What’s the same: Will have the same set of three Hendrick teammates for consecutive seasons for the first time in his Cup career.
No. 10 Aric Almirola (5th)
What’s new: Enters the season having won a race the previous year for just the second time in his career.
What’s the same: Johnny Klausmeier will crew chief the No. 10 for the second year.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin (11th)
What’s new: Will be paired with crew chief Chris Gabehart, who replaces Mike Wheeler after Hamlin went winless for the first time in his Cup career in 2018.
What’s the same: Entering his 14th full-time year with Joe Gibbs Racing, he’s the team’s senior driver by two years over Kyle Busch.
No. 12 Ryan Blaney (10th)
What’s new: Blaney enters 2019 as the only Team Penske Cup driver without a championship after Joey Logano won it last year.
What’s the same: His mustache is still better than yours.
No. 13 Ty Dillon (27th)
What’s new: Germain Racing is moving its shop to Richard Childress Racing’s campus in Welcome, North Carolina.
What’s the same: Germain remains a member of RCR’s technical alliance.
No. 14 Clint Bowyer (12th)
What’s new: No major changes have been announced
What’s the same: Bowyer will be paired with crew chief Mike Bugarewicz for a third year.
No. 15 Ross Chastain
What’s new: Chastain will moonlight in the Xfinity Series full-time with Chip Ganassi Racing.
What’s the same: Returns to Premium Motorsports full-time in Cup.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (18th)
What’s new: Will have veteran Ryan Newman as his teammate, replacing Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford.
What’s the same: Stenhouse remains winless on non-restrictor plate tracks in his Cup career.
No. 18 Kyle Busch (4th)
What’s new: Is scheduled to make his 500th Cup start in the Feb. 24th race at Atlanta. Will have a new teammate in the form of 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr.
What’s the same: Will have Adam Stevens as his crew chief, marking their fifth year together in Cup.
No. 19 Martin Truex Jr. (2nd)
What’s new: Will compete for Joe Gibbs Racing after the closing of Furniture Row Racing. He replaces Daniel Suarez.
What’s the same: Truex is joined at Joe Gibbs Racing by crew chief Cole Pearn.
No. 20: Erik Jones (15th)
What’s new: No major changes have been announced.
What’s the same: Jones will have Chris Gayle as his crew chief for the third consecutive year.
No. 21 Paul Menard (19th)
What’s new: No major changes have been announced
What’s the same: The world is still deprived of a Paul Menard Twitter account.
No. 22 Joey Logano (1st)
What’s new: Like every other Ford team, will have to adjust to the new Mustang body after winning the title with the Fusion
What’s the same: Enters his seventh Cup season with Todd Gordon as his crew chief.
No. 24 William Byron (23rd)
What’s new: Will enter his sophomore season under the guidance of Chad Knaus, the most successful active crew chief in NASCAR. This will be Byron’s first season in NASCAR without rookie stripes after previously competing in Xfinity and the Truck Series for just one season each.
What’s the same: Jeff Gordon is still the last (and only) driver to win in the No. 24.
No. 32 Corey LaJoie (34th)
What’s new: LaJoie, who got married on New Year’s Eve, is set to compete in his first full-time Cup season with Go Fas Racing, replacing Matt DiBenedetto. LaJoie will be paired with crew chief Randy Cox.
What’s the same: Go Fas Racing is still a small operation with 17 employees.
No. 34 Michael McDowell (26th)
What’s new: No major changes announced
What’s the same: Front Row Motorsports remains with Ford.
No. 36 Matt Tifft (Rookie year)
What’s new: Joins Front Row Motorsports in a third car after multiple seasons in the Xfinity Series. Tifft got engaged over the offseason.
What’s the same: Tifft enters the season with no victories in 102 starts in the Xfinity and Truck Series.
No. 37 Chris Buescher (24th)
What’s the same: Winless since he won at Pocono in 2016 with Front Row Motorsports.
No. 38 David Ragan (25th)
What’s new: No major changes announced
What’s the same: Enters sixth full-time season with Front Row Motorsports, making him the team’s longest-tenured driver.
No. 42 Kyle Larson (9th)
What’s new: A new teammate in Kurt Busch, who takes over for Jamie McMurray, who had been Larson’s only teammate in Cup so far.
What’s the same: Larson will compete on dirt whenever he’s allowed to.
No. 43 Bubba Wallace (28th)
What’s new: Wallace will be without sponsor Click n’ Close after just one year.
What’s the same: Richard Petty Motorsports remains in a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
No. 41 Daniel Suarez (21st)
What’s new: Suarez replaces Kurt Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing after two seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing.
What’s the same: Suarez and the No. 41 will be sponsored by Arris.
No. 47 Ryan Preece (2019 is rookie year)
What’s new: Preece moves to Cup full-time after two years in Xfinity racing part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing. JTG Daugherty Racing will now receive engines from Hendrick Motorsports.
What’s the same:JTG Daugherty Racing continues a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson (14th)
What’s new: Johnson will have a new primary sponsor for the first time in his Cup career with Ally Financial and a new crew chief in Kevin Meendering, who replaces Chad Knaus.
What’s the same: Johnson remains the only active Cup driver with multiple championships.
No. 88 Alex Bowman (16th)
What’s new: In his second full-time season with Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman can no longer be mistaken for a rookie. Bowman will sport a new Nationwide paint scheme this season.
What’s the same: Greg Ives returns as Bowman’s crew chief on the No. 88 Chevrolet.
No. 95 Matt DiBenedetto (29th)
What’s new: DiBenedetto replaced Kasey Kahne at Leavine Family Racing after two years at Go Fas Racing. LFR will compete under the Toyota banner after being a Chevrolet team. Mike Wheeler will crew chief the No. 95.
What’s the same: 2019 will be LFR’s fourth full-time season in Cup. The team is winless since it first went Cup racing in 2011.