Silly Season: Two Xfinity drivers moving up to Cup in 2019
Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric announced hours apart Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that they will move up to the Cup Series next season.
Hemric was asked what it meant that both drivers, who had modest financial backing, had announced Cup rides on the same day.
“Everybody says that the path of how we got here might not have been ideal,” Hemric said. “At the end of the day, you did whatever you could with what you had. To any racer out there that thinks it can’t be done, I think today is a huge step in that direction to show that it can be. Hopefully, it inspires some racers across the country to be able to continue to put one foot in front of the other and do the right things in life to hopefully align yourself with the right situation.”
Hemric will drive the No. 31 for Richard Childress Racing next year. Preece will drive the No. 47 with JTG Daugherty next season.
ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2019
No. 6: Ryan Newman joins Roush Fenway Racing for next season (announcement made Sept. 22)
No. 31: Daniel Hemric moves up from Richard Childress Racing’s Xfinity program to drive this Cup car and replace Ryan Newman (announcement made Sept. 28)
No. 43: Bubba Wallace will remain with Richard Petty Motorsports through the 2020 season (announcement made July 28)
No. 47: JTG Daugherty hires Ryan Preece to replace AJ Allmendinger in this ride (announcement made Sept. 28)
CUP RIDES NOT YET ANNOUNCED FOR 2019
No. 1: The Associated Press reported Sept. 10 that car owner Chip Ganassi had offered Jamie McMurray a contract to drive in the 2019 Daytona 500 only and then move into a management position. Ganassi was awaiting McMurray’s decision. The move means the No. 1 will be open for 2019.
No. 23: Front Row Motorsports purchased the BK Racing team in bankruptcy court in August. Front Row needs the team to run the rest of the season to maintain the charter. After this season, Front Row can run a third car, lease this charter or sell this charter.
No. 32: Go Fas Racing is looking for a driver after Matt DiBenedetto’s announcement Sept. 7 that he won’t return to the team after this season.
No. 41: Kurt Busch signed a one-year deal in December to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing. He said Aug. 31 at Darlington that he has two contract offers for 2019 but did not reveal what teams they were from. Car owner Gene Haas said Sept. 16 that he had conversations with Daniel Suarez about the ride. Haas said the team was hopeful a driver could bring along some sponsorship money.
No. 95: Kasey Kahne announced Aug. 16 that he would not return for another full-time season. Also, this team has told Richard Childress Racing it won’t be a part of its technical alliance next year. Car owner Bob Leavine said Aug. 5 that “in our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far.”
DRIVERS WITHOUT ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR 2019
AJ Allmendinger: Won’t return to JTG Daugherty after this season. Road racing expert could find a place in IMSA if there are no viable options in Cup.
Trevor Bayne:2011 Daytona 500 winner is looking for a ride after the Sept. 12 announcement he won’t return to Roush Fenway Racing in 2019. He told NBC Sports on Sept. 14 that he has been calling car owners looking for a ride and would look at any of NASCAR’s top three national series.
Kurt Busch: 2004 champion’s contract expires after this season with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Matt DiBenedetto: Said he was betting on himself by leaving Go Fas Racing and looking to race elsewhere. While he would like a full-time ride, he would entertain a part-time ride in the Xfinity Series with a winning team, following what Ryan Preece has done.
Matt Kenseth: He told NBC Sports on Sept. 22 that there was no way he could devote the time and effort to run full-time while also raising four daughters age 9 and under. If he does any type of racing beyond this season, though, Kenseth said “it would be for Jack (Roush).”
Jamie McMurray: Although he has not revealed his plans, car owner Chip Ganassi told the AP that he had offered McMurray a contract for only the 2019 Daytona 500 before McMurray would move into a management role.
Daniel Suarez: With reports stating that Martin Truex Jr. will go to Joe Gibbs Racing and drive the No. 19, Suarez would be looking for a ride. He said Sept. 21 that “we’re talking to a lot of people.”
Martin Truex Jr.: Reigning series champion has not announced a ride for 2019 with the Sept. 4 news that Furniture Row Racing is shutting down after this season. Truex, though, is expected to move to the No. 19 at Joe Gibbs Racing and replace Daniel Suarez.
ANNOUNCED RIDES FOR 2019
1: Noah Gragson will take over this ride at JR Motorsports for Elliott Sadler, who is stepping away after this season.