Miami represents final race for many Cup drivers with current teams
In case you haven’t heard, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is making his final Cup start this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He will retire from Cup competition after his last race driving Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet. He will be replaced by Alex Bowman next season.
But the 14-time most popular driver is one of many drivers making their last start with their current team.
The driver landscape in Cup will shift dramatically following Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Here’s a breakdown of the rest of the drivers making final starts with their current teams.
Matt Kenseth - Making final start in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota in likely his last Cup race. Will be replaced in 2018 by Erik Jones. Kenseth has driven the No. 20 since 2013.
Erik Jones - Last start in Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 Toyota after one season in the car, which the team won’t run in 2018 due to a lack of sponsorship. (Announcement made July 11)
Danica Patrick - Last start in Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 10 Ford, which she has driven since 2013. Losing ride due to lack of sponsorship. Will be replaced by Aric Almirola in 2018. (Announcement made Sept. 12)
Aric Almirola - Last start in Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Ford, which he has driven since 2012. He will be replaced by Darrell Wallace Jr. in 2018 as he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing. (Announcement made Nov. 8)
Kasey Kahne - Last start in Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet, which he has driven since 2012. Losing ride due to lack of sponsorship. He will be replaced by Xfinity Series driver William Byron in 2018 as the No. 5 will become the No. 24. Kahne will drive the No. 95 Chevrolet for Leavine Family Racing. (Announcement made Sept. 19)
Michael McDowell - Last start in Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Chevrolet, which he began driving in 2014 as an part-time ride. It became a full-time effort this season.
Ryan Blaney - Last start in Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 Ford, which he began driving part-time in 2015. He became a full-time driver in 2016. He will join Team Penske in 2018 driving the No. 12 Ford. Blaney will be replaced by Paul Menard. (Announcement made July 26)
Paul Menard - Last start in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 27 Chevrolet, which he has driven since 2011. RCR has not announced plans for the No. 27 next season. Menard will be the 44th driver to compete for Wood Brothers Racing as he takes over the No. 21 Ford. (Announcement made July 26)
Landon Cassill - Last start in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford, which he began driving this season. He joined Front Row Motorsports in 2016 driving the No. 38 Ford. FRM has not announced a new driver for the No. 34. Cassill has not announced his plans for 2018. (Announcement made on Oct. 9)
MORE: The future of Kurt Busch is still unknown. Busch has driven Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 Ford since 2014. The team announced in August it wasn’t picking up the option on his contract. Busch said after winning the pole at Texas two weeks ago that he and the team were still in negotiations.
“That’s our goal, is to have Kurt back in that car for next year,” co-owner Tony Stewart said at the time.