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Silly Season: More rides changing for 2019

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Trevor Bayne is the latest to be looking for a ride for 2019 after car owner Jack Roush said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Bayne would not return to the team after this season.

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, had struggled this season before Roush Fenway Racing brought back Matt Kenseth to share the No. 6 ride with Bayne.

Since he began driving in Cup for Roush in 2015, Bayne has zero wins, four top fives and 11 top-10 finishes in 124 starts.

Here’s a look at where Silly Season stands at this point:

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2019

Bubba Wallace will remain with Richard Petty Motorsports through the 2020 season (announcement made July 28)

CUP RIDES NOT YET ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

No. 1: The Associated Press reported Sept. 10 that car owner Chip Ganassi had offered Jamie McMurray a contract to drive in the 2019 Daytona 500 only and then move into a management position. Ganassi was awaiting McMurray’s decision. The move means the No. 1 will be open for 2019.

No. 6: Car owner Jack Roush said Sept. 12 on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Trevor Bayne would not be back with Roush Fenway Racing after this season. Bayne, who has shared the No. 6 ride this season with Matt Kenseth, has driven in Cup for Roush since 2015.

No. 23: Front Row Motorsports purchased the BK Racing team in bankruptcy court. Front Row needs the team to run the rest of the season to maintain the charter. After this season, Front Row could run a third car, lease this charter or sell this charter.

No. 31: Ryan Newman announced Sept. 15 that he would not return to the No. 31 after this season. Car owner Richard Childress told NBC Sports: “We’ll announce who our driver is in the near future.”

No. 32: Go Fas Racing is looking for a driver after Matt DiBenedetto’s announcement Sept. 7 that he won’t return to the team after this season.

No. 41: Kurt Busch signed a one-year deal last December to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing. He said Aug. 31 at Darlington that he has two contract offers for 2019 but did not reveal what teams they were from. Busch said Sept. 7 he had no updates on his status.

No. 95: Kasey Kahne announced Aug. 16 that he would not return for another full-time season. Also, this team has told Richard Childress Racing it won’t be a part of its technical alliance next year. Car owner Bob Leavine said Aug. 5 that “in our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far.”

DRIVERS WITHOUT ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR 2019

Trevor Bayne: 2011 Daytona 500 winner is looking for a ride after the Sept. 12 announcement he won’t return to Roush Fenway Racing in 2019. He told NBC Sports on Sept. 14 that he has been calling car owners looking for a ride and would look at any of NASCAR’s top three national series. 

Kurt Busch: 2004 champion’s contract expires after this season with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Matt DiBenedettoSaid he was betting on himself by leaving Go Fas Racing and looking to race elsewhere. While he would like a full-time ride, he would entertain a part-time ride in the Xfinity Series with a winning team, following what Ryan Preece has done.

Daniel Hemric: The Xfinity driver for Richard Childress Racing was asked Aug. 17 at Bristol about his future and he described it as: “Cloudy, very cloudy.” He said then he has not signed anything for the 2019 season, adding: “I’m trying to do everything I can on the race track to prove to somebody that would be willing to put me in a car and give me a shot.”

Jamie McMurray: Although he has not revealed his plans, car owner Chip Ganassi told the AP that he had offered McMurray a contract for only the 2019 Daytona 500 before McMurray would move into a management role.

Ryan Newman: He announced during the weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that he won’t be returning to Richard Childress Racing. He intends to remain in Cup for 2019 but has yet to reveal his destination.

Ryan Preece: Modified ace who has run a limited schedule in the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing and had great success has not announced his 2019 plans.

Daniel SuarezWith reports stating that Martin Truex Jr. will go to Joe Gibbs Racing and drive the No. 19, Suarez would be looking for a ride. He said Sept. 9 at Indianapolis that “I’m not really allowed” to talk about his situation and then added: “Everything happens for a reason. I think we are going to be in good shape.”

Martin Truex Jr.Reigning series champion has not announced a ride for 2019 with the Sept. 4 news that Furniture Row Racing is shutting down after this season.

XFINITY SERIES

OPEN RIDES FOR 2019

1: Elliott Sadler announced Aug. 15 that he will not run full-time in NASCAR after this season, creating an opening at JR Motorsports for 2019.

Silly Season: Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch among free agents for 2019

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Furniture Row Racing’s announcement that it will not continue after this season – a year after it won the Cup title – leaves Martin Truex Jr. out of a ride for the moment.

The news also will likely hasten some Silly Season decisions for 2019.

Here’s a look at what has been announced so far for the 2019 season:

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2019

Bubba Wallace will remain with Richard Petty Motorsports through the 2020 season (announcement made July 28)

OPEN/POSSIBLY OPEN CUP RIDES FOR 2019

No. 6: Roush Fenway Racing will have to decide what it plans to do with this team after Matt Kenseth joined the team in May and split duties with Trevor Bayne. Asked if he wanted to return and race in 2019, Kenseth said Aug. 31 at Darlington: “I’m just kind of honestly trying to concentrate on the rest of this season and trying to get this done. Those are probably things to talk about at a later date.”

No. 23: Front Row Motorsports purchased the BK Racing team in bankruptcy court. Front Row needs the team to run the rest of the season to maintain the charter. After this season, Front Row could run a third car, lease this charter or sell this charter.

No. 41: Kurt Busch signed a one-year deal last December to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing. He said Aug. 31 at Darlington that he has two contract offers for 2019 but did not reveal what teams they were from. 

No. 95: Kasey Kahne announced Aug. 16 that he would not return for another full-time season. Also, this team has told Richard Childress Racing it won’t be a part of its technical alliance next  year. Car owner Bob Leavine said Aug. 5 that “in our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far.”

AVAILABLE DRIVERS

Kurt Busch — 2004 champion’s contract expires after this season with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Daniel Hemric: The Xfinity driver for Richard Childress Racing was asked Aug. 17 at Bristol about his future and he described it as: “Cloudy, very cloudy.” He said then he has not signed anything for the 2019 season, adding: “I’m trying to do everything I can on the race track to prove to somebody that would be willing to put me in a car and give me a shot.”

Ryan PreeceModified ace who has run a limited schedule in the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing and had great success has not announced his 2019 plans.

Martin Truex Jr. — Reigning series champion has not announced a ride for 2019 with the news that Furniture Row Racing is shutting down after this season.

XFINITY SERIES

OPEN RIDES FOR 2019

1: Elliott Sadler announced Aug. 15 that he will not run full-time in NASCAR after this season, creating an opening at JR Motorsports for 2019.

Tyler Reddick honoring Tim Richmond at Darlington

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Tyler Reddick will pay tribute to the late Tim Richmond with his paint scheme for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Reddick’s No. 9 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Old Milwaukee beer and will bear the scheme Richmond had in the Cup Series when the beer sponsored his No. 27 Pontiac LeMans from 1983-85.

Richmond, who died in 1989 at 34 from complications from AIDS, had 13 wins in 189 Cup starts from 1980-87.

His life and career were documented in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Tim Richmond: To the Limit.”

During his Old Milwaukee days, Richmond drove for the Blue Max team owned by Raymond Beadle.

Raymond’s son Ryan is general counsel for JR Motorsports.

“Everything I had heard about Tim Richmond, which a lot of it goes off of the stories I’ve heard from people close to me in the garage, is that he was a guy that when he came up was one of the most talented drivers out here and that he was always really good at trying to have fun and be himself,” Reddick said in a press release. “He was about having fun and enjoying himself and winning races at the same time. I feel like he sometimes just flew under the radar a little bit and I feel like there is a connection there to how I try to go about my life, which makes it that much more special to be running this throwback scheme to him in Darlington.”

 

Elliott Sadler announces end of full-time NASCAR career after 2018

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Elliott Sadler announced in a statement on Twitter Wednesday morning he has decided to make 2018 his final full-time season in NASCAR competition.

Sadler, who turned 43 in April, made the announcement with 12 races left in the Xfinity Series.

The news comes after the JR Motorsports driver revealed in June that his primary sponsor, OneMain Financial, wouldn’t return in the same capacity next season.

Sadler has competed in NASCAR since making his Xfinity Series debut in 1995 at South Boston Speedway.

Since then he’s made 841 starts across all three national series.

In 12 full-time seasons in Cup, he earned three wins, 19 top fives and eight poles. He best point result was ninth in 2004.

This year is his 10th full-time Xfinity season. To date he’s earned 13 wins, 102 top fives and 18 poles in 383 starts.

Sadler will attempt to close out his full-time career with his first NASCAR championship. He’s placed second four times, including the previous two seasons spent with JRM.

With 12 races left he is second in the point standings and sixth on the playoff grid.

Read his statement below.

JR Motorsports makes crew chief change for Michael Annett’s team

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JR Motorsports announced Monday that Travis Mack will take over as crew chief for Michael Annett‘s team immediately.

Annett enters this weekend’s Xfinity race at Watkins Glen International 40 points out of the last playoff spot. He is coming off a 14th-place finish last weekend at Iowa Speedway. Annett has not had a top-10 finish this season.

Mack started the season as Kasey Kahne‘s crew chief in the Cup Series for Leavine Family Racing but was relieved of his duties in June. Mack had been with Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports since 2004 before moving to Leavine Family Racing. During 2014-15, Mack was the car chief on JR Motorsports’ No. 9 entry.

Mack replaces Jason Stockert, who will move to another role in the organization.

“We are constantly building toward the team’s future,” said Ryan Pemberton, JRM’s director of competition, in a statement. “At this point in the season it was time for us to evaluate where the No. 5 team was and where we wanted it to be moving forward. It became clear a change was necessary.

“I want to thank Jason for all he’s done for the organization in building the No. 5 team from the ground up. But we’re also looking forward to a new chapter with Travis. He’s a familiar face to many within the company and we’re excited to put his talents to use with Michael and the Pilot Flying J team.”

Said Mack in a statement: “I’m very grateful to be able to return to JR Motorsports. To have been here previously as car chief and now to come back as a crew chief is a tremendous opportunity. I can’t thank Dale Jr. and Kelley enough for that. I’m looking forward to getting started with the No. 5 team this weekend.”