NASCAR: 2021 Silly Season driver lineup prediction

With several seats still up for grabs despite quite a few recent driver confirmations, how will the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series lineup look?

Despite numerous recent driver confirmations, there are still several seats up for grabs in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup.

So who will compete where in 2021?

Here are the confirmed full-time entries for the 2021 season.

Chip Ganassi Racing

  • #1 Chevrolet: Kurt Busch
  • #42 Chevrolet: Ross Chastain

Hendrick Motorsports

  • #9 Chevrolet: Chase Elliott
  • #24 Chevrolet: William Byron
  • #48 Chevrolet: Alex Bowman

Joe Gibbs Racing

  • #11 Toyota: Denny Hamlin
  • #18 Toyota: Kyle Busch
  • #19 Toyota: Martin Truex Jr.
  • #20 Toyota: Christopher Bell

JTG Daugherty Racing

  • #47 Chevrolet: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Richard Childress Racing

  • #3 Chevrolet: Austin Dillon
  • #8 Chevrolet: Tyler Reddick

Roush Fenway Racing

  • #6 Ford: Ryan Newman
  • #17 Ford: Chris Buescher

StarCom Racing

  • #00 Chevrolet: Quin Houff

Stewart-Haas Racing

  • #4 Ford: Kevin Harvick
  • #10 Ford: Aric Almirola
  • #41 Ford: Cole Custer

Team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin (likely 23XI Racing)

  • #TBD (likely #23) TBD (likely Toyota): Bubba Wallace
    • To be run using charter purchased from Germain Racing

Team Penske

  • #2 Ford: Brad Keselowski
  • #12 Ford: Ryan Blaney
  • #22 Ford: Joey Logano

Trackhouse Racing Team

  • #99 Chevrolet: Daniel Suarez

Wood Brothers Racing

  • #21 Ford: Matt DiBenedetto

And here is our 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Silly Season driver lineup prediction.

Stewart-Haas Racing

  • #14 Ford: Stewart-Haas Racing altered their driver lineup after each of the last four seasons, and that is set to continue with Clint Bowyer out. Chase Briscoe is set to be promoted from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Xfinity Series team.

Go Fas Racing

  • #32 Ford: Go Fas Racing do something similar to what they did last year be re-signing Corey LaJoie, and that is not signing a driver already in the Stewart-Haas Racing organization. LaJoie himself has stated that Kaz Grala, who made his debut in relief for Austin Dillon at Richard Childress Racing and finished in seventh place at the Daytona International Speedway road course, is the lead candidate to replace him.

Front Row Motorsports

  • #34 Ford: Give Michael McDowell the underrated driver of the year award for 2020. He sits in 22nd place in the championship standings, by far a career-high, with a career-high three top 10 finishes and a career-best average finish of 19.9, far better than his previous best. If he were driving for any other team, we’d be talking about him on a weekly basis. Don’t expect any changes here.
  • #38 Ford: John Hunter Nemechek has showed the talent we all knew he had during his rookie season, but he likely isn’t quite ready for a promotion to a big-time team, especially with the battle for the seats being as competitive as they are.

JTG Daugherty Racing

  • #37 Chevrolet: Ryan Preece has had a disappointing second season driving the #37 Chevrolet, but he has put a solid string of races as of late, including five during a seven-race span in which he beat teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He recorded six top 20 finishes in a row, including his first two top 10 finishes of the season, during this span after recorded just seven in the season’s first 20 races, and he should be back again next year.

Richard Petty Motorsports

  • #43 Chevrolet: This seat goes to Erik Jones, who has been in advanced talks with the team after losing his ride with Joe Gibbs Racing to Christopher Bell for next year.

Hendrick Motorsports

  • #TBD Chevrolet: Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is set to leave the #48 Chevrolet after the 2020 season, but questions remain about the car number for 2021 with Alex Bowman set to move from the #88 Chevrolet to the #48 Chevrolet with Ally Financial tied to the latter through the 2023 season. Rick Hendrick goes bold and hires Kyle Larson, who lost his ride with Chip Ganassi Racing in April after using a racial slur. While it doesn’t come without an initial PR hit, Larson is able to rekindle his suspended relationship with Chevrolet and be reinstated by NASCAR after missing what is slated to come out to 32 races. This car will be renumbered to #5.

Spire Motorsports

  • #77 Chevrolet: While his gamble may not pay off exactly like he may have liked, Corey LaJoie finds himself back in the Cup Series as Spire Motorsports’ first ever full-time driver. Spire Motorsports are set to run a two-car team for the first time in their three-year existence after purchasing a charter from the to-be-defunct Leavine Family Racing team.

Gaunt Brothers Racing

  • #96 Toyota: Not much has been said about Gaunt Brothers Racing following the departure of Daniel Suarez. The promise of Gaunt Brothers Racing receiving additional support from Toyota and additional investors to be competitive by the time the 2022 season rolls around and the Gen 7 car is introduced leads to Harrison Burton getting a surprise promotion to the Cup Series through Toyota Racing Development with Brandon Jones having re-signed with the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series team for next year.

Full-time entries not included: #15, #27 and #53 Rick Ware Racing cars (likely multiple drivers), #51 Petty Ware Racing car, #TBD Spire Motorsports Chevrolet (likely multiple drivers)