When Richard Petty Motorsports announced Erik Jones would take over the famed #43 in 2021 and Stewart-Haas Racing announced Chase Briscoe to the #14 that all but wrapped up the NASCAR Cup Series Silly Season as 2020 comes to a close. But is Silly Season actually over?
While the “contender” seats have all been filled for the 2021 season, a number of questions still exist when you look at the mid-pack cars. A number of mid-pack seats are up in the air and likely won’t be secured until December or January.
Front Row Motorsports
#34 – Will Michael McDowell be back for his 4th season with FRM? All indications point towards McDowell returning in 2021. His 4-Top 10s this season are the most he or anyone in FRM’s history have had with the team. McDowell brings a little money to the team and continues to be a guy who brings the car home in one piece.
#38- John Hunter Nemechek came out of quarantine swinging with a 9th place finish at Darlington in the sports first race back. He has 3-Top 10 finishes this season and he brings a little money with him as well. JHN in all likelihood will be back at FRM next season as the team looks to build on a solid rookie season.
Spire continues to be NASCAR’s most interesting/unknown back marker team. The team announced last month that they will move to a 2-car team in 2021. Additionally, the team announced they had purchased the charter previously held by the #95 team. On top of that Spire also controls a third charter now as well. So where does that leave them for 2021? What we do know is they will have two Hendrick cars on the grid.
#77- Everyone assumed Justin Haley would move to this car in 2021. His uncle is a part-owner in the team but Haley ultimately re-signed with Kaulig for 2021. Corey LaJoie’s name has been strongly linked to Spire.
#??- As for the second car at Spire? Who the hell knows, honestly. More likely than not it will be a car split between a number of drivers.
#37- Will Ryan Preece be back in 2021? It looks likely that the modified star will be back for his third year at JTG. 2020 has been a trying year for the #37 team. Anything that could go wrong has. Two Top-10 finishes this season isn’t where Preece envisioned himself surely. Luckily for Preece there isn’t a hot name banging on the door this offseason.
#47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be back for a second year at JTG. We will petition for NOS to run as the primary for the full season.
#32- Corey LaJoie announced he was leaving at the end of the season leaving the #32 wide open for 2021. Who will be in that car? There’s no name that has been directly tied to the seat. A few names to look out for though, potentially a guy like Ryan Truex could hop into that seat. Maybe Daniel Hemric depending on his status for next year. Potentially Jeb Burton. No names have really been tossed out there for this ride and it remains a bit of mystery.