Getty Images
Getty Images

Cup Series Driver Updates for 2020


See Also: NASCAR Releases 2020 Rules

A look at some of the updates and news regarding driver and teams for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.


Getty ImagesAric Almirola

2019 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
2020 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 8
Cup Series Wins: 2
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 2nd (Texas 2)

Stewart-Haas Racing announced on October 10, 2019 that the team has renewed its partnership with Smithfield Foods, Inc., maintaining Smithfield’s status as the lead brand on the No. 10 Ford driven by Aric Almirola. The 2020 season will mark Almirola’s third season with SHR. Almirola has represented Smithfield since 2012 when he was with Richard Petty Motorsports.


Getty ImagesChristopher Bell

2019 Team: Joe Gibbs Racing (Xfinity)
2020 Team: Leavine Family Racing
Seasons in Cup: Rookie
Xfinity Series Wins: 16
NASCAR Championships: Gander Trucks-2017

Leavine Family Racing announced on Sept. 24, 2019 that Christopher Bell will move up to the NASCAR Cup Series to race for the team in 2020. LFR will still have its technical alliance between with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Racing Development. Bell, who has raced full-time for the past two seasons in the Xfinity Series with JGR, will be sponsored by Rheem and Procore next season. He will replace Matt DiBenedetto, who will race for the Wood Brothers in 2020.


Getty ImagesClint Bowyer

2019 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
2020 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 14
Cup Series Wins: 10
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 2nd (Texas 1)

Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Oct. 17, 2019 that Clint Bowyer will return to the No. 14 Ford for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, which will mark Bowyer’s fourth season with SHR and his 15th in Cup. The 40-year-old took over the No. 14 Ford in 2017 following the retirement of three-time Cup Series champion and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. Bowyer made his 500th career Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway last fall and made the NASCAR Playoffs for the second straight year.


Getty ImagesChris Buescher

2019 Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
2020 Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 4
Cup Series Wins: 1 (Pocono, 2016)
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 6th (Charlotte 1)

Roush Fenway Racing announced on Sept. 25, 2019 that Chris Buescher will return to the team in 2020 to drive the No. 17 Ford. RFR also announced that they will part ways with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the end of the season. Buescher, a product of Roush Fenway’s development driver program, won the NASCAR Xfinity Series title in 2015 with the team. For the past three seasons, Buescher has competed in the Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing, which signed Stenhouse Jr. to a multi-year deal on Oct. 16. RFR announced on Nov. 5 that Luke Lambert will be Buescher’s crew chief.


Getty ImagesKurt Busch

2019 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
2020 Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 19
Cup Series Wins: 31
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 1st (Kentucky)

Kurt Busch joined Chip Ganassi Racing with a one-year contract for the 2019 season. He won at Kentucky and started the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the eighth seed. On Nov. 2, 2019, Busch announced he signed a multi-year extension with CGR. In addition, the team also announced a multi-year extension to their partnership with Monster Energy.


Getty Images

Landon Cassill

2019 Team: StarCom Racing
2020 Plans: TBA
Cup Series Starts: 324
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best Cup Points Finish: 29th, 2016

StarCom Racing announced on Nov. 27, 2019 that Quin Houff will replace Landon Cassill as the driver of the No. 00 starting in 2020. The team issued the following statement: "We are thankful for all that Landon Cassill has brought to StarCom Racing’s program in 2019. We have a commitment to Landon that we plan to honor in 2020. Details to come at a later date."


2019 Nov14 Custer Main.jpgCole Custer

2019 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing (Xfinity)
2020 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing (Cup)
Cup Series Starts: 3
Xfinity Series Wins: 9
Best Xfinity Points Finish: 2nd, 2018, 2019

Stewart-Haas Racing promoted Cole Custer to the Cup Series in 2020. He will replace Daniel Suarez, who competed one season for the team, in the No. 41 Ford. In 2019, Custer scored seven wins in the Xfinity Series and was part of the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami.


Getty ImagesMatt DiBenedetto

2019 Team: Leavine Family Racing
2020 Team: Wood Brothers Racing
Seasons in Cup: 5
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 2nd (Bristol 2)

Wood Brothers Racing announced on Sept. 10, 2019 that Matt DiBenedetto will join the team in 2020 to drive the iconic No. 21 Ford. He will replace Paul Menard, who retired from full-time racing at the end of the 2019 season. DiBenedetto is coming off his best season in Cup with three top fives and seven top 10s, including a runner-up finish at Bristol with Leavine Family Racing.


Getty Images

Joey Gase

2019 Team: MBM/RWR
2020 Plans: Rick Ware Racing
Cup Series Starts: 41
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 27th (Daytona 2)

Joey Gase will race one of the Rick Ware Racing entries for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. He competed in one race for the team in 2019, finishing a season-best 27th in the July race at Daytona. Gase also made 10 other Cup starts and 32 Xfinity Series starts in 2019 with MBM Motorsports.


Getty ImagesDaniel Hemric

2019 Team: Richard Childress Racing
2020 Plans: JR Motorsports
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 1
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 5th (Talladega 1)

Daniel Hemric will not return behind the wheel of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet next season, the team announced on Sept. 17, 2019. Hemric finished his 2019 rookie season 25th in the standings and had a best finish of fifth at Talladega. Tyler Reddick will drive the No. 8 next season. JR Motorsports announced on Nov. 13, 2019 that Hemric will join the team in 2020 to compete in 21 Xfinity Series races driving the No. 8 Chevrolet.


Getty Images

Quin Houff

2019 Team: Spire/Premium Motorsports
2020 Team: StarCom Racing
Cup Series Starts: 17
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 28th (Charlotte 1)

StarCom Racing announced on Nov. 27, 2019 that they have signed Quin Houff as the full-time driver for the No. 00 in the NASCAR Cup Series for 2020 and 2021. The team also released a statement regarding Landon Cassill, who drove the No. 00 in 2019: "We are thankful for all that Landon Cassill has brought to StarCom Racing’s program in 2019. We have a commitment to Landon that we plan to honor in 2020. Details to come at a later date."


Getty ImagesJohn Hunter Nemechek

2019 Team: GMS Racing (NXS)/Front Row Motorsports
2020 Team: Front Row Motorsports
Cup Series Starts: 3
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 21st (Texas 2)

John Hunter Nemechek, who finished seventh in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in 2019, will join Front Row Motorsports full time in 2020. Nemechek ran three races for the team at the end of 2019 and will take over the No. 38 Ford from David Ragan, who stepped away from full-time racing at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Nemechek will work with crew chief Seth Barbour.


Getty ImagesCorey LaJoie

2019 Team: Go Fas Racing
2020 Team: Go Fas Racing
Cup Series Starts : 93
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 6th (Daytona 2)

Corey LaJoie announced on Dec. 3, 2019 on MRN’s "Sunday Money" podcast, which he co-hosts with Daryl Motte and Lauren Fox, that he will be back in the No. 32 Ford for Go Fas Racing in 2020. The team will enter into a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing. The 2019 season marked LaJoie’s first full year in the Cup Series and he finished 29th in the standings. Go Fas Racing announced on Jan. 7 that Ryan Sparks, who was a race engineer at Richard Childress Racing, will be LaJoie’s crew chief in 2020.


Getty ImagesPaul Menard

2019 Team: Wood Brothers Racing
2020 Plans: Retiring from full-time racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 13
Cup Series Wins: 1 (Indianapolis, 2011)
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 6th (Bristol 1)

Paul Menard announced on Sept. 10, 2019 that he will be retiring from full-time racing at the end of the season. The announcement came in conjunction with the news that Matt DiBenedetto will be the new driver of the No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers. Menard said he’s looking forward to spending more time at home with his wife Jennifer and two kids.


Getty ImagesBrennan Poole

2019 Team: On Point Motorsports (Gander Trucks)
2020 Plans: Premium Motorsports
Seasons in Cup: Rookie
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Gander Truck Finish: 15th (Charlotte 1)

Premium Motorsports announced on Dec. 11, 2019 that Brennan Poole will drive the No. 15 Chevrolet in 2020 for his rookie campaign. Poole competed in the Xfinity Series in 2016 and 2017 with Chip Ganassi Racing and finished eighth and sixth, respectively, in the standings. In 2019, Poole ran part-time in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for On Point Motorsports and recorded four top 10s in 13 starts.


Getty ImagesDavid Ragan

2019 Team: Front Row Motorsports
2020 Plans: Retiring from full-time racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 13
Cup Series Wins: 2
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 15th (Charlotte 1)

David Ragan announced on Aug. 14, 2019 that he will step away from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season. Ragan’s last win came in 2013 at Talladega with Front Row Motorsports, the first of two wins for the organization. Ragan made 470 Cup Series starts. Ragan announced on Jan. 10 that he will compete in the 2020 Daytona 500 driving the No. 36 Ford.


Getty Images

Tyler Reddick

2019 Team: Richard Childress Racing (Xfinity)
2020 Team: Richard Childress Racing (Cup)
Seasons in Cup: Rookie
Xfinity Series Wins: 9
NASCAR Championships: Xfinity-2018, 2019

Richard Childress Racing announced on Oct. 2, 2019 that they promoted Tyler Reddick to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020 to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet. He will replace Daniel Hemric. Reddick, who won the 2018 Xfinity Series championship with JR Motorsports, completed the 2019 Xfinity season by winning the championship for RCR. Reddick made two Cup Series starts for RCR in 2019 and scored a ninth-place finish at Kansas in the spring. Caterpillar will remain as a primary sponsor of the No. 8 next year. RCR announced on Nov. 5 that Randall Burnett will be Reddick’s crew chief next season.


Getty ImagesRicky Stenhouse Jr.

2019 Team: Roush Fenway Racing
2020 Plans: JTG Daugherty Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 7
Cup Series Wins: 2
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 5th (Charlotte 1)

Roush Fenway Racing announced on Sept. 25, 2019 that they will part ways with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the end of the season and Chris Buescher will replace him in the No. 17 Ford. Stenhouse won two Xfinity Series championships and recorded two Cup Series wins during a relationship with RFR that dates back to 2009. Stenhouse spoke to reporters at Charlotte following Roush Fenway’s decision: "It was unfortunate, for sure," he said. "I’m very thankful that Jack took a chance on a dirt racer from Mississippi to come drive his car." JTG Daugherty Racing announced on Oct. 16, 2019 that Stenhouse Jr. signed a multi-year deal with the team starting in 2020 to drive the No. 47 Chevrolet. Brian Pattie will follow Stenhouse to JTG Daugherty to continue to be his crew chief. Pattie and Stenhouse were paired together at RFR since 2017. Ryan Preece, who piloted the No. 47 in 2019, will move to the No. 37 at JTG Daugherty for 2020. Trent Owens will be Preece’s crew chief.


Getty Images

Daniel Suarez

2019 Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
2020 Plans: Gaunt Brothers Racing
Full-Time Seasons in Cup: 3
Cup Series Wins: 0
Best 2019 Cup Finish: 3rd (Texas 1, 2)

Daniel Suarez joined Stewart-Haas Racing for 2019 after spending two seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. Suarez announced on Nov. 14, 2019 via a video on Twitter that he will not return to the team in 2020 after they were not able to put all the funding and sponsor together in time. Suarez will race the No. 96 Toyota for Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020.