NASCAR Silly Season: Where things stand

0 Comments

With fewer than 70 days until the 2021 Daytona 500 – who’s counting, right? – there remain some Cup rides open in NASCAR Silly Season and even more rides that have not been announced in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

John Hunter Nemechek’s move to Kyle Busch Motorsports to compete for a Camping World Truck championship in 2021 leaves a spot in Cup with Front Row Motorsports open. Only once since 2015 has Front Row Motorsports had the same two full-time drivers from one season to the next.

In the Xfinity Series, more than a dozen rides have been announced for 2021.

Here’s how the NASCAR Silly Season scorecard looks:

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2021

No. 00: Quin Houff enters the second year of his two-year deal with StarCom Racing.

No. 1: Kurt Busch enters the second year of a multi-year contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

No. 2: Brad Keselowski and Team Penske announced a contract extension Aug. 3.

No. 3: Austin Dillon is signed with Richard Childress Racing through at least next year.

No. 4: Kevin Harvick signed a contract extension in February that will keep him at Stewart-Haas Racing through the 2023 season.

No. 5: Kyle Larson signed a multi-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports on Oct. 28.

No. 6: Ryan Newman‘s contract with Roush Fenway Racing goes through next season.

No. 7: Corey LaJoie signed a multi-year contract with Spire Motorsports to drive this car in 2021.

No. 8: Tyler Reddick will be back with Richard Childress Racing next season.

No. 9: Chase Elliott is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2022 season.

No. 10: Aric Almirola extended his deal with Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2021 season.

No. 11: Denny Hamlin is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 12: Ryan Blaney and Team Penske announced a multi-year extension earlier this year.

No. 14: Chase Briscoe moves up to Cup to take over the ride Clint Bowyer will vacate.

No. 17: Chris Buescher is signed with Roush Fenway Racing through at least next season.

No. 18: Kyle Busch is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 20: Christopher Bell moves from Leavine Family Racing to take over this ride in 2021.

No. 21: Wood Brothers Racing announced Oct. 9 that Matt DiBenedetto would race for the team in 2021 before Austin Cindric takes over the car in 2022. Roger Penske said Oct. 20 on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he has an option on DiBenedetto’s contract for 2022.

No. 22: Joey Logano is tied to Team Penske through 2023.

No. 23: Bubba Wallace will drive for the new 23XI team co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin in 2021.

No. 24: William Byron is under contact with Hendrick Motorsports through 2022.

No. 37: Ryan Preece will return to JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 41: Cole Custer, the 2020 Cup Rookie of the Year, will be back in this ride.

No. 42: Ross Chastain was chosen by Chip Ganassi Racing to replace Matt Kenseth.

No. 43: Erik Jones moves over to Richard Petty Motorsports, signing a multi-year deal.

No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters the second year of a multi-year deal with JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 48: Alex Bowman will drive the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson moving to IndyCar. Bowman moves over from the No. 88, Hendrick Motorsports announced Oct. 6.

No. 78: B.J. McLeod will drive for Live Fast Motorsports, the team he co-owns with Matt Tifft. The team announced Nov. 20 that it will have a “strategic partnership” with Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 99: Daniel Suarez will compete for the new Trackhouse Racing team.

NASCAR Silly Season available Cup rides for 2021

No. 32: Ride is open with Corey LaJoie announcing he will not return to Go Fas Racing in 2021. Team will not have a charter in 2021 and will run a limited schedule.

No. 38: John Hunter Nemechek and Front Row Motorsports announced Nov. 16 that Nemechek will not return to the team for the 2021 season.

No. 77: Spire Motorsports purchased the charter and assets of Leavine Family Racing and will be a two-car operation in 2021. Christopher Bell will move to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for 2021. Spire has not named who will take over this ride for next season. Corey LaJoie takes over the No. 7 for Spire.

No. 96: Daniel Suarez and Gaunt Brothers Racing announced Sept. 15 that they would part ways after this season.

Rick Ware Racing: Organization has not announced drivers for its multiple rides for 2021.

NASCAR Silly Season Xfinity driver announcements for 2021

No. 02: Brett Moffitt returns to Our Motorsports.

No. 1: Michael Annett returns to JR Motorsports for a fifth season.

No. 2: Myatt Snider will run the full season for Richard Childress Racing.

No. 7: Justin Allgaier will return to JR Motorsports for a sixth season.

No. 8: Josh Berry will run about 12 races in this car before Sam Mayer takes over the ride the rest of the season.

No. 9: Noah Gragson will return to JR Motorsports.

No. 10: Jeb Burton joins Kaulig Racing for a full-time season.

No. 11: Justin Haley returns for a third season to Kaulig Racing.

No. 16: AJ Allmendinger returns to Kaulig Racing and will run the full schedule.

No. 18: Daniel Hemric joins Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2021 season.

No. 19: Brandon Jones will be back with Joe Gibbs Racing.

No. 20: Harrison Burton will return for his second season at Joe Gibbs Racing.

No. 22: Austin Cindric will be back with Team Penske and run select Cup races in 2021 before moving to Cup with the Wood Brothers in 2022. Cindric won the 2020 Xfinity championship.

No. 39: Ryan Sieg will be back with RSS Racing.

No. 68: Brandon Brown returns to Brandonbilt Motorsports.

No. 92: Josh Williams will be back with DGM Racing

No. 98: Riley Herbst joins Stewart-Haas Racing and takes over this ride.

NASCAR Silly Season Truck driver announcements for 2021

DGR-Crosley: Hailie Deegan moves up to this series after a year in the ARCA Series.

GMS Racing: Truck champion Sheldon Creed, Tyler Ankrum, Zane Smith and Chase Purdy will be with the organization in 2021. Raphael Lessard will join the team and is scheduled to run 12 races.

Hattori Motorsports: Austin Hill is back with the team for another season.

Kyle Busch Motorsports: John Hunter Nemechek moves from Cup to this Truck team for 2021.

Niece Motorsports: Ryan Truex will run a full schedule for the team. He joins Carson Hocevar, who also will run a full schedule for the team. The team announced Dec. 2 that Brett Moffitt will run the full schedule for the team.

Young’s Motorsports: Spencer Boyd will return to drive the No. 20 truck.

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

HELIO’S ‘DAYS OF THUNDER’ MOMENT: Recalling a memorable 2022 victory drive through the smoke

“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Fire at Reaume Brothers Racing shop injures three

0 Comments

A Thursday fire at the Reaume Brothers Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, injured three individuals, according to Mooresville (North Carolina) Fire-Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the shop, which is scheduled to field entries for driver Mason Massey in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire department extinguished the blaze quickly. The department stated on its Facebook page that one individual was transported to Lake Norman Regional hospital for smoke inhalation, and another was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. with burn injuries. A third was treated and released.

The Mooresville Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department said the shop sustained “significant fire damage.”

In a tweet, the team said it is determining the extent of damage to the building. “More importantly,” it said, “a few of our team members did sustain injuries during the fire and are being transported for medical treatment.”

Trackhouse, RFK Racing, Front Row Motorsports sign sponsorship deals

0 Comments

Trackhouse Racing, RFK Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced sponsorship deals Thursday morning.

Trackhouse said WWEX, a Dallas-based global logistics group, will increase its sponsorship presence with the team this year, serving as the primary sponsor in 21 races for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

WWEX will appear on Chastain’s Chevrolets in 19 races and will sponsor Suarez twice. The organization was a Trackhouse sponsor in 11 events in 2022, which was a breakout season for both Chastain and Suarez.

RFK announced that Solomon Plumbing, which joined the team last season, will expand its presence this season and in future years. The Michigan-based company will serve as the primary sponsor for several races on driver Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Ford.

MORE: Chase Briscoe signs contract extension with Stewart-Haas

Solomon specializes in plumbing and fire services for new development and construction. It initially sponsored Keselowski last season in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports has signed Quincy Compressor, a Bay Minette, Ala.-based compressor manufacturer, as a sponsor for four races.

Quincy will sponsor Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team in three events and Michael McDowell‘s No. 34 team in one race.

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to contract extension

0 Comments

Chase Briscoe has signed a multiyear contract extension to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Thursday.

The length of the deal was not announced.

MORE: A better way to determine the Cup champion?

Briscoe is entering his third Cup season with the team. He won his first series race last year, taking the checkered flag at Phoenix last March. That victory put him in the playoffs. He finished the season ninth in the standings. 

“It’s huge to have stability, with my team and my partner,” Briscoe said in a statement from the team. “It just gives you more confidence. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I want to be for a long time. It’s the place I’ve known longer than anywhere else in my NASCAR career.

“I remember getting signed by Ford in 2017 and I told people, ‘You know, if I could pick one place to be, it would be Stewart- Haas Racing. And if I could drive one car, it would be the 14 car. That would be the ultimate dream.’ And now, here I am.

“SHR has such a great group of people, from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series, and they’ve all just guided me in the right direction. From drivers to crew chiefs to crew members, they’ve always had my back, and that’s been a huge help – just having people believe in you.”

The 28-year-old Briscoe has been with SHR since 2018. He split a limited Xfinity schedule that season between what is now RFK Racing and SHR. He ran full time with SHR in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and ’20 before moving to Cup in 2021.

“Chase has made the most of every opportunity and the proof is in the results. Keeping him at SHR was a priority and we’re proud to have him in our racecars for many more years to come,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, in a statement from the team. 

Briscoe’s signing comes two weeks after teammate Kevin Harvick announced that this will be his final season in Cup. 

The Cup season begins Feb. 5 with the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before going to Daytona for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.