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Silly Season Updates

A look at some of the latest Silly Season updates and news regarding driver and teams for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

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AJ Allmendinger 

Current Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
2019 Plans: TBD
Years in Cup: 13
Cup Series Wins: 1
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 3rd (Daytona 2)

JTG Daugherty Racing announced on September 25 that they are moving in a different direction for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and that Allmendinger will be released at the end of the 2018 season.

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Trevor Bayne

Current Team: Roush Fenway Racing
2019 Plans: TBD
Years in Cup: 9
Cup Series Wins: 1
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 11th (Bristol 2)

Trevor Bayne has been splitting the driving duties of the No. 6 Ford with Matt Kenseth since May. Since Kenseth joined the team, Bayne has competed in five races with his best finish coming in the Bristol Night race, 11th. Jack Roush said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on September 13 that Bayne will not be returning to drive the No. 6 in 2019 (Read More).

Getty ImagesKurt Busch

Current Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
2019 Team: TBD
Years in Cup: 19
Cup Series Wins: 30 | 2004 Champion
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 1st (Bristol 2)

In a similar situation to last season, Stewart-Haas put Kurt Busch into free agency to give him the opportunity to talk to other teams. Busch said at Darlington on August 31 that he’s got two contract offers that he is looking at. With the report that Jamie McMurray will not be in the No. 1 Chevrolet next season, that leaves Chip Ganassi Racing as a possible option for Busch…As of September 13, Busch has nothing signed and said in Las Vegas prior to the playoff opener: “It’s all the same stuff that I’ve been through before, and I don’t look at it like a (distraction). The contracts that I signed when I was a rookie or a younger guy, they were five-year deals. And now, as of late, I haven’t signed anything that was more than two years.”

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Matt DiBenedetto

Current Team: GoFas Racing
2019 Plans: Leavine Family Racing
Years in Cup: 4
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 7th (Daytona 2)

Matt DiBenedetto announced on September 7 that he will be moving in a different direction in 2019 after two years with GoFas Racing. DiBenedetto says the move will give him the best opportunity to further his career and showcase his talent and ability at the highest level and that he’s taking a leap of faith and betting on himself to prove it. On October 10, Leavine Family Racing announced that DiBenedetto will join the team in 2019 and they will make a manufacturer change from Chevrolet to Toyota.

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Daniel Hemric

Current Team: Richard Childress Racing
2019 Team: Richard Childress Racing
Cup Series Starts: 1
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best Cup Finish: 23rd (Charlotte Roval)

Richard Childress Racing announced on September 28 a promotion for Daniel Hemric to drive the No. 31 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2019. Further announcements on sponsors and other details will be made at a later date, but the team expects many of the current partners with the No. 31 team to return. Childress said they haven’t ruled out a possible number change to the 8, which Hemric has raced in Cup this season for the team.

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Kasey Kahne

Current Team: Leavine Family Racing
2019 Plans: Retiring from full-time Cup Racing
Years in Cup: 15
Cup Series Wins: 18
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 4th (Daytona 1)

Kasey Kahne announced on August 16 that 2018 will be his last full-time season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Three weeks later, Kahne missed the Brickyard 400 and the next four races because of heat exhaustion following the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. After a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kahne announced on social media on October 9 that he was not medically cleared to return behind the wheel of the No. 95 Chevrolet for the remaining races. He wrote, “My body just can’t handle extended periods of time in the race car and we weren’t able to control the sweat ratio to keep me hydrated enough to prevent any permanent damage to my body.”

Getty ImagesJamie McMurray

Current Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2019 Plans: TBD
Years in Cup: 17
Cup Series Wins: 7
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 2nd (Charlotte Roval)

The Associated Press has reported that Chip Ganassi has offered Jamie McMurray driver a contract for just for the 2019 Daytona 500 and then a leadership position with the team. McMurray, who has not announced his plans, has captured five of his seven career wins with Ganassi, including his first win back in 2002 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Ryan Newman

Current Team: Richard Childress Racing
2019 Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Years in Cup: 19
Cup Series Wins: 18
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 6th (New Hamphsire)

Ryan Newman will join Roush Fenway Racing to drive the No. 6 Ford in 2019. The move comes after Newman announced on September 15 via Twitter that he will not return to Richard Childress Racing next season. As for Matt Kenseth, who drives the No. 6 car part-time this season, the team is still in talks with him to see if he will remain with the team in some capacity. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, said at Newman’s press conference that Kenseth wasn’t prepared to run full-time in 2019. The team announced on October 23 that Scott Graves will be Newman’s crew chief.

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Ryan Preece

Current Team: Joe Gibbs Racing (NXS)
2019 Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
Cup Series Starts: 5 (2015)
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best Cup Finish: 32nd (New Hamphsire)

Ryan Preece will join JTG Daugherty Racing in 2019. Preece, who has two Xfinity Series wins with Joe Gibbs Racing, will finish the 2018 season with JGR before going to JTG where he will be teammates with Chris Buescher. The team will use Hendrick engines in 2019. (Read More)

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Daniel Suárez

Current Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
2019 Team: TBD
Years in Cup: 2
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 2nd (Pocono 2)

Daniel Suárez will be with a new team in 2019 after Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Martin Truex Jr. will drive the No. 19 Toyota next season. Suárez said at Richmond on September 21 that “we’re talking to a lot of people.” One possible option for Suárez is Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 car. “We really appreciate everything Daniel has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “He has made the most of every opportunity from winning the championship in the Xfinity Series to making the jump into the Cup Series for us. We look forward to hearing about his plans going forward and know he continues to have a bright future in our sport.”

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Martin Truex Jr.

Current Team: Furniture Row Racing
2019 Team: TBD
Years in Cup: 15
Cup Series Wins: 19 | 2017 Champion
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 1st (Auto Club, Pocono, Sonoma, Kentucky)

Furniture Row Racing announced on September 4 that they will cease operations following the completion of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series due to a lack of necessary funding to field a competitive team. Joe Gibbs Racing announced on November 7 that Truex, along with crew chief Cole Pearn will join the No. 19 team in 2019. Sponsorship for the No. 19 Toyota for next season is still being formulated and will be announced at a later date.