Silly season scorecard: Falling into place
It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?
When we last checked our Silly Season scorecard for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, it was early August. Ross Chastain had just signed a multi-year deal to join Trackhouse Racing.
With Trackhouse announcing its purchase of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations back in June, Chastain’s deal moved the spotlight to CGR teammate Kurt Busch and his uncertain plans for 2022.
But as summer turned to fall, Kurt Busch’s plans - and the plans of several other drivers - were revealed.
Here’s how the NASCAR Silly Season scorecard looks:
Announced Cup rides for 2022
No. 1: Ross Chastain joins Trackhouse as it expands to a two-car Cup program following the purchase of Chip Ganassi Racing.
No. 2: Austin Cindric moves up to the Cup Series at Team Penske as part of the multi-year deal he signed last October.
No. 7: Corey LaJoie will remain with Spire Motorsports.
No. 27: The new Team Hezeberg will run all six road course races, but may also run some short track races. 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Loris Hezemans will be the driver.
No. 45: Kurt Busch will drive a new second car for 23XI Racing. Team co-owner Denny Hamlin confirmed last weekend that a potential deal with Front Row Motorsports to acquire a charter for the second car had fell apart, but vowed “we’re going to race” with the entry.
No. 62: Beard Motorsports will maintain its superspeedway-only schedule.
No. 94: Ty Dillon will drive for GMS Racing as it enters the Cup Series. At an Oct. 10 press conference, Dillon said GMS owner Maury Gallagher was committed to run the full season, with or without a charter.
Cup driver contract extensions
No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. and Joe Gibbs Racing announced a extension on Feb. 10. Length of contract unknown.
No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JTG Daugherty Racing confirmed a one-year extension on Sept. 30.
Available Cup rides for 2022
Kaulig Racing: Kaulig’s second full-time Cup entry will feature AJ Allmendinger in select races, but a full driver roster is still to be determined.
Rick Ware Racing: RWR plans to field two full-time Cup entries in 2022 and is mulling over a third entry. RWR will join Ford and align with both Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Yates Engines.
Cup notables yet to announce 2022 plans
Ryan Newman: Currently drives the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing.
Ryan Preece: Currently drives the No. 37 for JTG Daugherty Racing. JTG-D has confirmed it will only run one car - Stenhouse’s No. 47 - next season.
Matt DiBenedetto: Leaving Wood Brothers Racing at end of 2021 season.
Michael McDowell: Currently driving the No. 34 for Front Row Motorsports.
Anthony Alfredo: Currently driving the No. 38 for Front Row Motorsports.
Xfinity Series 2022 notable announcements
Big Machine Racing: Entering enhanced partnership with Richard Childress Racing. Jade Buford and Patrick Donahue will return as driver and crew chief, respectively.
JR Motorsports: Josh Berry will drive JRM’s No. 8 entry full-time. ... Sam Mayer will also drive a full-time entry for the team. ... Michael Annett will retire after this season. ... Justin Allgaier returns to the team next season. ... Noah Gragson also will be back with the team in 2022.
Kaulig Racing: Daniel Hemric will move from Joe Gibbs Racing to drive Kaulig’s No. 11 entry, replacing Cup-bound Justin Haley ... Jeb Burton will not return to the team next season.
Richard Childress Racing: Reigning Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed will move up to Xfinity next season with RCR. ... Myatt Snider, current driver of RCR’s No. 2 entry, will remain part of the RCR/GM development program.