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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 

2018 Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
2019 Plans: NBC Sports/Rolex 24
Years in Cup: 13
Cup Series Wins: 1
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 3rd (Daytona 2)

In 2019, AJ Allmendinger will join NBC Sports as a booth analyst for the network’s exclusive coverage of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. He will also compete in the Rolex 24 for Meyer Shank Racing. Additionally, he will contribute regularly to NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America. JTG Daugherty Racing announced on September 25, 2018 that they are moving in a different direction for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and that Allmendinger would be released at the end of the 2018 season.


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Trevor Bayne

2018 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 split the driving duties of the No. 6 Ford with Matt Kenseth from May 2018 to the end of the season. Bayne competed in 21 races with his best finish coming in the Bristol Night race, 11th. Jack Roush said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on September 13, 2018 that Bayne will not be returning to drive the No. 6 in 2019 (Read More).


Tanner Berryhill 2018Tanner Berryhill

2018 Team: Obaika Racing
2019 Team: Obaika Racing
Years in Cup: 1 (2 Races)
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 31st (Phoenix 2)

Obaika Racing announced on December 3, 2018 that Tanner Berryhill will be the full-time driver of the No. 97 Toyota for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Berryhill made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2018 with Obaika Racing, competing in the final two races of the season at ISM Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has made 40 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in previous years.


Getty ImagesKurt Busch

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

Chip Ganassi Racing announced on December 4, 2018 that Kurt Busch will drive the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019. Busch, who replaces Jamie McMurray in the No. 1, has spent the past five seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing.


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Matt DiBenedetto

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

Matt DiBenedetto announced on September 7, 2018 that he will be moving in a different direction in 2019 after two years with GoFas Racing. DiBenedetto said 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, 2018, Leavine Family Racing announced that DiBenedetto will join the team in 2019 and they will make a manufacturer change from Chevrolet to Toyota. LFR then announced on November 27 that Mike Wheeler will be DiBenedetto’s crew chief. Wheeler just finished his third season as a crew chief in the Cup Series and has notched a career total of five wins, 37 top-5 finishes, and 61 top-10 finishes with Denny Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing.


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Daniel Hemric

2018 Team: Richard Childress Racing
2019 Team: Richard Childress Racing
Cup Series Starts: 2
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best Cup Finish: 23rd (Charlotte Roval)

Richard Childress Racing announced on September 28, 2018 a promotion for Daniel Hemric to drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2019. Luke Lambert will be Hemric’s crew chief in the Cup Series. Danny Stockman, who spent the last two seasons with Hemric in the Xfinity Series, will be the crew chief of the No. 3 Cup Series team with Austin Dillon. On December 14, RCR announced that Hemric will pilot the No. 8 and will have Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance, VF Workwear and Cessna as primary sponsors.


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Kasey Kahne

2018 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.” In 2019, Kahne will compete in over 50 sprint car races, which are shorter events and the cars have open cockpits.


Getty ImagesCorey LaJoie

2018 Team: TriStar Motorsports
2019 Team: Go Fas Racing
Years in Cup: 3
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2018 Cup Finish: 16th (Las Vegas)

On December 20 Go Fas Racing announced that Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 32 Ford full-time in 2019. LaJoie will be joining veteran Crew Chief Randy Cox, who began working with the No. 32 team early into the 2018 season. LaJoie and Cox worked together at BK Racing in 2017 where they ran 17 races together, including a career-best finish for LaJoie in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 11th.


Getty ImagesJamie McMurray

2018 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2019 Plans:  Fox Sports/ Daytona 500
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 captured five of his seven career wins with Ganassi, including his first win back in 2002 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During a teleconference on December 4, Ganassi said he expects McMurray to stick around and will have some announcements forthcoming on that subject. On December 12, McMurray announced that he will join the FOX Sports broadcast team. On January 18 it was announced that McMurray will pilot the No. 40 Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 for Spire Motorsports, through a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.


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Ryan Newman

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

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

2018 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

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

Daniel Suárez will join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2019 to drive the No. 41 Ford with sponsorship from Haas Automation and ARRIS International PLC. SHR made the official announcement on January 7, 2019. He replaces Kurt Busch, who moved to Chip Ganassi Racing after five years with SHR. Billy Scott will be Suárez’s crew chief.


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Matt Tifft

2018 Team: Richard Childress Racing (NXS)
2019 Team: Front Row Motorsports
Cup Series Starts: 0
Xfinity Series Starts: 77
Best Career Xfinity Finish: 2nd (Road America)

Front Row Motorsports will expand to three cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Matt Tifft driving the No. 36. The announcement was made on November 27 and Tifft will join Michael McDowell and David Ragan at FRM. Tifft finished sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship this season, earning six top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in his 2018 campaign with Richard Childress Racing, making it to the Round of 8 in the series playoffs.


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Martin Truex Jr.

2018 Team: Furniture Row Racing
2019 Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
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. On January 4, 2019, JGR announced that Bass Pro Shops will continue its partnership with Truex and will be prominently featured on the hood of the No. 19 Camry for 24 races this season, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500. Auto-Owners Insurance will be the primary sponsor in eight races this season with the first coming at Bristol Motor Speedway in April.