NASCAR’s silly season is in full effect. Drivers are changing teams. Sponsors are leaving and joining the sport and the public is anxiously awaiting an announcement on which driver will take over the No. 48 Chevy next year after Jimmie Johnson retires.
While team owner Rick Hendrick remains tight-lipped during the 2020 playoffs on the No. 48, there are teams with open seats and drivers who will be free agents after the last checkered flag at Phoenix this fall.
The Observer has compiled an early look at 2021 NASCAR Cup team rosters. This file will be updated with the latest contract news (with this year’s changes in parentheses). Drivers in italics are currently in contract years but expected to remain with their teams. This story was last updated Sept. 17.
Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas:
- No. 11 Denny Hamlin
- No. 18 Kyle Busch
- No. 19 Martin Truex Jr.
- No. 20 Christopher Bell (moving from the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota in 2021)
Team Penske Fords:
- No. 2 Brad Keselowski (signed year-long contract extension with Penske through 2021)
- No. 12 Ryan Blaney (signed a multi-year contract extension with Penske)
- No. 22 Joey Logano
Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets:
- No. 9 Chase Elliott
- No. 24 William Byron (signed contract extension with Hendrick through 2022)
- No. 48 TBD (Rick Hendrick indicated the team has made a pick, but is waiting to make the announcement)
- No. 88 Alex Bowman (signed year-long contract extension with Hendrick through 2021)
Stewart-Haas Racing Fords:
- No. 4 Kevin Harvick (signed two-year contract extension with SHR through 2023)
- No. 10 Aric Almirola (signed a contract extension for 2021)
- No. 14 Clint Bowyer (SHR’s vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said he expects no changes to the driver lineup next season, and Bowyer said he wants to return to the team in 2021)
- No. 41 Cole Custer (will finish this season as the Cup Series Rookie of the Year with at least one win, but although it is expected, it is not yet confirmed whether Custer will stay)
Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolets:
- No. 1 Kurt Busch
- No. 42 TBD (Matt Kenseth said it’s unlikely he will return to Cup racing next season, leaving speculation over who will fill the driver’s seat that was left open earlier this year by Kyle Larson)
Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets:
- No. 3 Austin Dillon (is having one of his best seasons in 2020. It is expected he’ll return, it has not been confirmed that Dillon will stay at RCR)
- No. 8 Tyler Reddick (said he will stay at RCR for 2021)
Roush Fenway Racing Fords:
- No. 6 Ryan Newman
- No. 17 Chris Buescher
Note: While it is likely both drivers will return for 2021, neither contract extension is confirmed.
JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolets:
- No. 37 Ryan Preece (could also be on the market for a new team in 2021 after signing a “multi-year contract” in 2019)
- No. 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet:
- No. 43 TBD (Bubba Wallace announced he would part with RPM after the 2020 season, but the team has not yet announced its replacement driver nor has Wallace announced a future destination)
Wood Brothers Racing Ford:
- No. 21 Matt DiBenedetto (said he and the team wanted a long-term relationship and that his contract has options for 2021 and 2022, but discussions are ongoing and the deadline for the team to pick up his option for next year is the end of September)
Front Row Motorsports Ford:
- No. 38 John Hunter Nemechek (surprised a lot of people with his rookie performance in the Cup Series this year, but Nemechek is believed to be a free agent after the season and could move elsewhere)
- No. 38 Michael McDowell (still unconfirmed whether McDowell will return to the No. 38 in 2021, but he secured this year’s deal late last season)
Germain Racing Chevrolet:
- No. 13 Ty Dillon
Note: Germain is losing its Geico sponsorship next season, according to FOX Sports, and is considering selling the team.
Go Fas Racing Ford:
- No. 32 TBD (Corey LaJoie announced he would part with Go Fas after the season, but the team has not yet announced a replacement driver and LaJoie has not announced his future team)
Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota:
- No. 95 TBD (Daniel Suárez announced he would part with GBR after 2021, but the team has not yet named a new driver and Suárez has not announced his next destination)
Spire Motorsports Chevrolets:
- No. 77 TBD
- Second car number and drive is unkown
Note: Spire will take over the charter of Leavine Family Racing in 2021, fielding two cars in the Cup Series. The team has an affiliation with Chip Ganassi Racing and would likely pull up drivers from the Xfinity Series to run its Cup cars next season.
Rick Ware Racing/Premium Motorsports:
- No. 15 TBD
- No. 27 TBD
Note: Ware purchased the charter of the No. 27, owned by Premium Motorsports, in May, according to FOX Sports. Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, J.J. Yeley, Reed Sorenson and Garrett Smithley have all driven cars for Ware in Cup Series events.
StarCom Racing Chevrolet:
- No. 00 Quin Houff (TBD how team progresses in Cup Series next year based on sponsorship)
MBM Motorsports Toyota:
- No. 66 Timmy Hill (TBD how team progresses in Cup Series next year based on sponsorship)
NASCAR drivers who don’t yet have teams for 2021:
- Bubba Wallace
- Daniel Suárez
- Corey LaJoie
- Erik Jones (will be released by JGR following the current season)
New teams in 2021:
- The Money Racing Team, backed by Floyd Mayweather and launched online in May.
- Trackhouse, backed by Justin Marks and could join the Cup Series as early as next season.
- Denny Hamlin has made comments expressing his interest in future team ownership, which could potentially include running a Cup team with Toyota backing in 2021. NASCAR president Steve Phelps said the sanctioning body would allow it if NASCAR determines the new team would not run as a second shell team for JGR.