NASCAR: Is the 2021 full-time driver lineup set?

NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

Following Rick Ware Racing’s confirmation of Josh Bilicki, is the full-time driver lineup set for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season?

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup has steadily come together over the last few months, most recently with multiple confirmations from Rick Ware Racing.

Up until last week, they were the only full-time chartered team without any drivers confirmed for the upcoming 36-race campaign, and with four chartered entries, this was significant.

But now they have confirmed multiple drivers, including two full-timers, and as a result, the full-time driver lineup could be set.

The team announced this week that Cody Ware and Josh Bilicki are set to run the full schedule in 2021.

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Ware is set to drive the #51 Chevrolet, which is officially classified as a Petty Ware Racing entry since it is run using a Richard Petty Motorsports charter, and Bilicki is set to drive the #52 Chevrolet.

There were three other full-time chartered entries without confirmed drivers for the 2021 season leading into this week, but all three now have confirmed part-time drivers, meaning that none of them will be driven by the same driver all year.

Jamie McMurray is set to drive the #77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports only in the season-opening Daytona 500, and the same can be said for Derrike Cope and the #15 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing.

Rick Ware Racing have also confirmed that Joey Gase is set to compete part-time for the team again in 2021, and James Davison has said that he expects to be back with the team on a part-time basis again as well.

This means that there are 33 full-time drivers among the 36 chartered entries for the 2021 season. Ryan Preece is the lone confirmed full-time driver who is set to drive a non-chartered car, as he is set to drive the #37 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing. The charter that had been used by JTG Daugherty Racing to run this car is now possessed by Spire Motorsports.

The only full-time team without a confirmed full-time driver for the 2021 season is NY Racing Team, which recently announced that they plan to run the #44 Chevrolet throughout the entire season. However, they do not have a charter and will therefore not be guaranteed a starting spot in any races that have more than 40 cars on the entry list.

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The 63rd annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to get the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season underway on Sunday, February 14, with live coverage from Daytona International Speedway set to be provided by Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.