The Daytona 500 green flag drops in 41 days

Anthony Ballantoni
·7 min read



Only 41 days remain before the green flag drops to start the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500. Here is a brief look at Cup Series 10th-placed Kurt Busch’s 2020 NASCAR season including his first Cup Series win after 22 attempts at his hometown track. Also, snapshots on a few other drivers who finished in the Top-20 across NASCAR’s three premium series. The tentative list of 2021 Cup Driver/Team lineups attached shows only those teams who plan on entering all events. Since some have yet to announce their 2021 plans, follow NASCAR Headlines and "Player" News on this site for the latest driver/team updates.

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

2020: Kurt Busch (Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 36 races, the Las Vegas, Nevada native scored 1 win, 7 top-fives, 19 top-tens, had a 9.7 average start, a 13.44 average finish and led 169 laps. His victory in the Sept. 27th South Point 400 at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway (after 22 attempts) earned him a spot in the Playoffs Round of 16. He also made it through the Round of 12, into the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the start of the series season-ending Championship 4 event. He closed out the year 10th in the NCS standings.
2021: Kurt Busch has signed a multi-year extension to continue driving CGR’s #1 Camaro. Crew chief Matt McCall and primary sponsor Monster Energy return as well.

2020: Ryan Blaney (Team Penske #12 Ford Mustang) - In 36 races, the High Point, North Carolina native scored 1 win, 11 top-fives, 17 top-tens, had an 11.4 average start, a 13.83 average finish and led 668 laps. His victory in the June 22nd GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (photo finish: 0.007 seconds ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) earned him a spot in the Playoffs Round of 16. He was eliminated before the start of the Round of 12. Blaney closed out the season 9th in the NCS standings.
2021: Blaney signed with Team Penske through at least the 2022 season. Todd Gordon will return as crew chief for the #12 team. No firm word on sponsorship but Menards will most likely be present on Blaney’s Mustang.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS)

2020: Ryan Sieg (RSS Racing #39 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Tucker, Georgia native scored 7 top-fives, 11 top-tens, had a 9.8 average start, a 15.55 average finish and led 103 laps. At the end of the regular season, Sieg was 11th in points which earned him a spot in the NXS Playoffs Round of 12. He completed the Round of 12 and advanced to the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the start of the series season-ending Championship 4 event. Sieg closed out the year 10th in the NXS standings. His best finish was a 2nd place in the Oct. 3rd Ag-Pro 300 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
2021: Sieg’s family-owned team plans on entering another full season. Kevin Starland will return as crew chief for the #39 team. CMR Construction & Roofing will continue as primary sponsorship for Sieg’s Camaro.

2020: Michael Annett (JR Motorsports #1 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Des Moines, Iowa native scored 4 top-fives, 22 top-tens, had a 9.0 average start, an 11.79 average finish and led 37 laps. At the end of the regular season, Annett was 8th in points which earned him a spot in the NXS Playoffs Round of 12. He was eliminated before the start of the Round of 8 and closed out the season 9th in the NXS standings. His best finish was a 4th place in the Nov. 7th season-ending Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway.
2021: JRM announced in November that Annett will return for another season in the #1 Chevrolet. Sponsors Pilot Flying J, Northland Oil, Allstate Parts and TMC Transportation will also return. Annett’s crew chief for the last 2 1/2 seasons has left the team to be crew chief for the new Trackhouse Racing CUP team. Mike Bumgarner takes over that spot for the #1 team.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NTS)

2020: Todd Gilliland (Front Row Motorsports #38 Ford F-150) - In 23 races, the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native scored 4 top-fives, 10 top-tens, had a 12.8 average start, a 16.13 average finish and led 98 laps. At the end of the regular season, Gilliland was 10th in points which earned him a spot in the NTS Playoffs Round of 10. He was eliminated from the playoffs before the start of the Round of 8 and closed out the year 10th in the standings. Gilliland’s best 2020 results were 4th place finishes: June 6th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, June 28th at Pocono Raceway and August 21st at Dover Int’l Speedway.
2021: Unless something is announced soon, Gilliland is scheduled to return to FRM’s #38 truck with Jon Leonard calling the shots from the pit box. Black’s Tire and Speedco are still expected to sponsor the team’s #38 F-150.

2020: Tyler Ankrum (GMS Racing #26 Chevrolet Silverado) - In 23 races, the San Bernardino, California native scored 3 top-fives, 10 top-tens, had an 8.6 average start, a 13.39 average finish and led 54 laps. At the end of the regular season, Ankrum was 9th in points which earned him a spot in the NTS Playoffs Round of 10. He also made the cut for the Round of 8 but was eliminated from the playoffs before the series season-ending Championship 4 event. Ankrum closed out 2020 9th in the standings. Ankrum’s best 2020 result was runner-up to CUP regular Kyle Busch in the June 13th Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2021: Ankrum, the 2019 Truck series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, will return for another full season with GMS racing. Chad Walter will continue as crew chief for the Liuna sponsored #26 Chevrolet Silverado team.

2021 Tentative NCS Series Team Chart

Car

Driver

Owner

Crew Chief

Sponsor

00 Chevy

Quin Houff

StarCom Racing

George Church

-

1 Chevy

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

Matt McCall

Monster Energy

2 Ford

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Jeremy Bullins

Discount Tire

3 Chevy

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Justin Alexander

-

4 Ford

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Rodney Childers

Busch Beer, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza

5 Chevy

Kyle Larson

Hendrick Motorsports

Cliff Daniels

-

6 Ford

Ryan Newman

Roush Fenway Racing

Scott Graves

Oscar Mayer, Wyndham Rewards, Castrol, Guaranteed Rate

7 Chevy

Corey LaJoie

Spire Motorsports

Ryan Sparks

-

8 Chevy

Tyler Reddick

Richard Childress Racing

Randall Burdett

Okuma

9 Chevy

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Alan Gustafson

NAPA Auto Parts, Hooters, LLumar

10 Ford

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Mike Bugarewics

Smithfield

11 Toyota

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Chris Gabehart

FedEx

12 Ford

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Todd Gordon

-

14 Ford

Chase Briscoe - R

Stewart-Haas Racing

-

HighPoint

15 Chevy

-

Rick Ware Racing

Pat Tryson

-

17 Ford

Chris Buescher

Roush Fenway Racing

Luke Lambert

Castrol

18 Toyota

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Ben Beshore

M&Ms, Skittles, Pedigree, Interstate Batteries

19 Toyota

Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing

James Small

Auto Owners Ins.

20 Toyota

Christopher Bell

Joe Gibbs Racing

Adam Stevens

Rheem, Craftsman

21 Ford

Matt DiBenedetto

Wood Brothers Racing

Greg Erwin

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

22 Ford

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Paul Wolfe

Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, Autotrader, MoneyLion

23 Toyota

Bubba Wallace

23XI Racing

Mike Wheeler

DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper, Root Insurance

24 Chevy

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Rudy Fugle

Axalta, Liberty University

34 Ford

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Drew Blickensderfer

-

37 Chevy

Ryan Preece

JTG Daugherty Racing

Trent Owens

Kroger, Bush's Beans

38 Ford

-

Front Row Motorsports

Seth Barbour

-

41 Ford

Cole Custer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Mike Shiplett

-

42 Chevy

Ross Chastain

Chip Ganassi Racing

-

McDonald's

43 Chevy

Erik Jones

Richard Petty Motorsports

Jerry Baxter

Victory Junction

47 Chevy

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

JTG Daugherty Racing

Brian Pattie

Kroger, NOS Energy Drink

48 Chevy

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Greg Ives

Ally Financial

51 Chevy

-

Rick Ware Racing

Jason Houghtaling

Biohaven Pharmaceuticals’ Nurtec

52 Chevy

-

Rick Ware Racing

Mike Hillman Sr.

-

53 Chevy

-

Rick Ware Racing

Todd Parrott

-

66 Ford

Timmy Hill

MBM Motorsports

Steven Idol

-

77 Chevy

-

Spire Motorsports

Kevin Bellicourt

-

78 Ford

BJ McLeod

Live Fast Motorsports

-

Keen Parts

96 Toyota

-

Gaunt Brothers Racing

-

-

99 Chevy

Daniel Suarez

Trackhouse Racing

Travis Mack

-

R - Rookie of The Year contender