JD Motorsports

Silly Season Scorecard: Post-Miami edition

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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.

Among them was the news that Cole Custer is being promoted by Stewart-Haas Racing to the Cup Series, where he will take over the No. 41 Ford driven by Daniel Suarez this year.

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. 1: Chip Ganassi Racing announced on Nov. 1 a multi-year extension with Kurt Busch.

No. 6: Roush Fenway Racing announced Oct. 30 that Ryan Newman would return to the car as part of the news that Oscar Mayer would sponsor the No. 6 through 2021.

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. 21: Matt DiBenedetto replaces Paul Menard at Wood Brothers Racing (announcement made Sept. 10). DiBenedetto’s deal is for 2020 only.

No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing announced Nov. 15 Cole Custer will replace Daniel Suarez.

No. 95: Christopher Bell moves to Cup in 2020 and will drive for Leavine Family Racing (announcement made Sept. 24).

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.

Rick Ware Racing: JJ Yeley will drive one of the team’s three full-time rides.

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.”

Xfinity Series 

Ross Chastain – Kaulig Racing announced Oct. 15 he would compete full-time for the team in 2020 driving the No. 10 Chevrolet, joining Justin Haley.

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 MotorsportsJustin 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 MotorsportsJesse Little will compete full-time for the team.

Truck Series

GMS RacingDriver lineup will include Brett Moffitt, Sam Mayer, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum

Kyle Busch MotorsportsRaphael Lessard will drive the No. 4 full-time while Christian Eckes will drive the No. 18 full-time.

Hattori Racing EnterprisesAustin Hill will return to the No. 16 Toyota for a second year.

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Ryan Vargas set for Xfinity debut at Iowa Speedway

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Ryan Vargas, a member of the 2018-19 NASCAR Next class and 2019 Drive for Diversity program, is set to make his Xfinity Series debut next weekend at Iowa Speedway.

JD Motorsports announced Wednesday Vargas will drive its No. 15 Chevrolet in the July 27 U.S. Cellular 250, which will air on NBCSN.

Vargas, 18, competed full-time in the K&N Pro Series East last year for Rev Racing. Vargas was let go by Rev Racing in December and has spent this season racing late models and competing for the Irwindale Speedway track championship.

The race at Iowa will mark Vargas’ national NASCAR series debut. Vargas said making his Xfinity debut at Iowa “just makes sense” given his seventh-place finish there last year in the K&N Series.

“Last year, I felt that I was able to run my best race all year at the speedway, and to have the chance to drive for a well-respected team owner in Johnny Davis really adds to the excitement heading into the weekend,” Vargas said in a press release. “I think if we can keep all the fenders on my No. 15 Chevrolet and run as many laps as possible, the weekend will be a success. At this point in my career, I want to learn as much as I can so I can keep moving up the NASCAR ladder, so I am not necessarily worried about what the results show.”

Vargas will be sponsored by Cranio Care Bears, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Craniosynostosis, a condition that causes problems with a child’s brain and skull growth. Vargas underwent surgery when he was 11 months old to correct issues from it.

“It means a lot to me to be able to help bring awareness to this great charity in Cranio Care Bears through the sport that I love so much,” Vargas said. “I know that I will have a lot of little supporters cheering me on that look up to me as a role model in the Cranio community, and I want to show them that anything is possible, even with the condition.”

 

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Ross Chastain wins Xfinity race at Daytona

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Ross Chastain held off teammates Justin Haley and AJ Allmendinger to win Friday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

It is the first NASCAR win for Kaulig Racing in 125 combined Xfinity Series starts since 2014. It is Chastain’s second career Xfinity Series win.

Chastain is a native of Alva, Florida, located 207 miles Southwest of Daytona Beach.

“Oh my gosh, we did it!” Chastain told NBCSN. “I sat here as a kid. I watched these races as a kid every Fourth of July, never could come in the spring because we were growing watermelons. These guys right here gave me a race car that, oh my gosh, could win a race at Daytona!”

Kaulig Racing entered three cars in a race for the first time and had all three cross the finish line first. Allmendinger, who made his first start of the year for the team, appeared to complete the sweep after he passed Christopher Bell on the last lap.

NASCAR announced after the race that Allmendinger’s third-place car had been disqualified for failing inspection.

Kaulig said they decided to field three cars in the race because neither of their cars wrecked in the Talladega race in April.

“The only reason we didn’t run four (cars) today was because we don’t have enough cars,” Kaulig said.

The top five was completed by Bell, Austin Cindric and Stephen Leicht.

The final 10-lap run was set up by a 15-car wreck with 14 laps to go that included Cole Custer, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson and Ryan Sieg and resulted in a 17 minute and 45 second red flag.

Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick finished 17th after he pit with four laps to go to repair damage. He was involved in a wreck with Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg on Lap 46 in Stage 2. Briscoe was eliminated after he hit the inside wall nose-first. Reddick was able to continue despite his No. 2 Chevrolet sliding through the rain soaked infield grass.

MORE: Click here for revised results

MORE: Click here for revised points

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ross Chastain

STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Stephen Leicht finished fifth for JD Motorsports, scoring his first top-five finish since 2007. … Brandon Brown finished sixth for his first career top-10 finish. … Jeff Green was seventh, scoring top 10s in both Daytona races this year.

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 12 on NBCSN

Landon Cassill to run Talladega Xfinity race

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Landon Cassill will drive for JD Motorsports in the April 27 Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway, the team announced Tuesday.

The race is a Dash 4 Cash event. Drivers earning Cup points cannot compete in those events. Cassill confirmed to NBC Sports that he has switched what series he’ll earn points from Cup to Xfinity to be eligible to compete.

Cassill will drive the No. 4 car at Talladega for Ross Chastain, who will be in the No. 10 car for Kaulig Racing that weekend. Chastain will return to the No. 4 car at Dover, the week after Talladega.

Cassill drove full time for JD Motorsports from 2013-15 and in three races for the team last season. The Talladega race marks his first Xfinity superspeedway race since July 2015 at Daytona.

“We are ecstatic to have Landon back in the seat for Talladega”, said team owner Johnny Davis in a statement. “He has always been considered one of the best drivers we had ever had in our cars in the time that he has spent driving for us, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish with his wealth of experience on the Superspeedways.”

Flex Seal will sponsor Cassill’s car.

Tyler Matthews to make Xfinity debut at Richmond

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JD Motorsports with Gary Keller announced Tuesday that Tyler Matthews will make his Xfinity Series debut Friday at Richmond Raceway.

“Man, I can’t stress enough how much this opportunity means to me,” Matthews said in a statement from the team. “Getting the chance to drive for one of the most respected team owners in the garage area in Johnny Davis is huge. I know that this will be a big step up in my career, coming from racing Late Model stocks and all, but I’m treating this as just another race car. If we can stay out of trouble and keep the car within the top 25, I think that would be a solid day for us.

“I know we can do it, and I’m just counting down the hours until I can get on track to practice.”

Linetec Services will be the primary sponsor of Matthews’ No. 15 Camaro.

Matthews won the 2016 North Carolina NASCAR Whelen All America Series championship running Late Models throughout the state.

Matthews, 22, made three starts in the Truck series last year. His best finish was 17th at Gateway Motorsports Park.