We’re in the midst of NASCAR Silly Season and Bob Pockrass dropped an article Monday on FoxSports.com that included massive amounts of information. Toss in some Jenna Fryer news along with some Adam Stern tweets and it’s time for a Silly Season roundup.
Kyle Larson’s Future
According to Bob, he’s hearing rumblings that Kyle Larson will drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2021. That’s a massive development considering Chevrolet terminated their contract with Larson after his racial slur. They did that before Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson.
Going into his free-agent season it appeared Larson was all but a shoo-in for Jimmie Johnson’s #48 seat. Once he confidently said a racial slur during an online race it appeared that opportunity was all but gone. To quote Lee Corso, not so fast. Rick Hendrick knows he’s taking on a problem with Larson but he knows he can get good talent dirt cheap. And if any owner can sway an OEM it’s Rick Hendrick. No word on if he would be in the #48, #88, or another number.
Denny Hamlin Team Owner w/Gaunt Brothers?
Denny Hamlin is rumored to be interested in purchasing the Germain Racing #13 charter/assets. That would give Hamlin a charter and the opportunity to join forces with a team like Gaunt Brothers Racing. GBR does not currently have a charter for their #96 team.
Daniel Suarez also announced this week he would not be back with the #96 team in 2021. With a driver opening now at GBR, the team saying they will continue to race in 2021, a relationship with Toyota Racing Development, and Denny Hamlin looking to purchase a charter you can see how the two parties could join forces.
Bubba Wallace Driving For The New Denny Hamlin Team
When Bubba Wallace announced last week that he would not return to Richard Petty Racing in 2021 everyone immediately tried to connect him to open seats. Would he go to Ganassi, Hendrick, or SHR? All three teams said they did not have an offer on the table for Bubba which left everyone scratching their head.
On this week’s episode of Door Bumper Clear, Bubba Wallace said he was betting on himself in 2021 and had a great opportunity. All signs are pointing to him joining this new Denny Hamlin team whatever that will look like. It also appears they will have full TRD support on par with what Furniture Row Racing was getting. One thing for certain, JGR won’t try to price Denny out of the sport.
What About Erik Jones?
Dropped by JGR in favor of Christopher Bell, Erik Jones is a man without a home for 2021 so far.
At first, rumors linked him to Hendrick, those rumors seem to have cooled off leaving Jones with fewer options for next season. Ganassi is still searching for a driver at the #42 car, SHR is looking for a driver in the #14 car and JTG potentially could be looking for a replacement for Ryan Preece. RPM is on the table as well but it appears Suarez is the leader in the clubhouse for that seat.
For Jones, a competitive seat is what he needs. Of his current options, Ganassi and SHR are his best options. Of those two Ganassi is the most realistic choice. Jones’ options are dwindling and without a ton of sponsorship tied to him, it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.
Suarez To RPM?
RPM majority owner Andrew Murstein appears to be committed to promoting diversity in NASCAR and that doesn’t seem to be changing going into 2021. Daniel Suarez appears to be the favorite to replace Bubba Wallace in The King’s #43. Suarez does bring some money to the team, not the amount he brought at JGR but certainly more than some others.
Who Gets The #14 Car?
A few weeks ago Greg Zipadelli stated that SHR would like to keep their 2020 lineup in 2021 as well. Staying with the status quo would mean another mediocre season for one of NASCAR’s top teams excluding Kevin Harvick’s #4 team.
Kyle Larson was strongly linked to SHR but that seems to have died down a little. So who gets the #14 car? Will it be Chase Briscoe who has had a breakout Xfinity season or will Clint Bowyer retain the seat for another season?
It’s time for SHR to move on from Bowyer, while he’s a great personality there is no upside to his driver talent anymore. Briscoe meanwhile has years and years of driving ahead of him and his upside is massive.
Unless Ty hops into an RCR Xfinity car for the 2021 season there don’t appear to be many options for Richard’s other grandson at the moment.