NASCAR: 3 seats without drivers for the 2024 season

Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

There are three chartered entries still without any confirmed drivers for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Just two are expected to be driven by a single driver full-time.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series driver lineup has slowly but surely come together over the last few months, though there haven’t been all that many major silly season moves to speak of.

Many of the top free agents such as Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Ross Chastain simply opted to re-sign with their current teams.

The biggest moves thus far have seen Josh Berry sign with Stewart-Haas Racing as Kevin Harvick’s replacement, John Hunter Nemechek sign with Legacy Motor Club as Noah Gragson’s replacement, and Zane Smith sign with Trackhouse Racing Team, with Trackhouse Racing Team loaning him out to Spire Motorsports.

Spire Motorsports, which also signed Carson Hocevar to replace Ty Dillon, secured a third charter from Live Fast Motorsports for roughly $40 million.

But there is still potential for some more fireworks.

Three of the 36 chartered entries do not have any drivers confirmed for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Let’s take a look at each of those three and what is likely in store for them.

No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Aric Almirola will not return for a seventh season with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024, leaving the No. 10 Ford without a driver. While Cole Custer was once viewed as a good possibility, given that he has had success competing for the organization’s Xfinity Series team after being demoted for 2023, Gragson has since emerged as the favorite.

No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet

In somewhat of a surprising move, Ty Dillon, who has lost his ride with four different teams after each of the last four seasons, has emerged as the favorite to replace A.J. Allmendinger.

Allmendinger has said that he is willing to drop down to the Xfinity Series if that is where team owner Matt Kaulig feels his talents are best utilized, and although he recently won the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, that is what all signs point toward.

No. TBD Rick Ware Racing Ford

Rick Ware Racing confirmed that Justin Haley is set to compete full-time for the team in 2024 when Haley announced his surprising decision to leave Kaulig Racing after the 2023 season back in July.

But they have not confirmed whether he will drive the No. 15 Ford or the No. 51 Ford. Whichever car he doesn’t drive will likely be driven by multiple drivers, just as it has been for the last several years. Ryan Newman is a candidate to return, and Almirola hasn’t ruled out running a part-time schedule. J.J. Yeley is also a regular, and there is no reason to expect that to change.

What’s up next?

The only race remaining on the 2023 schedule is this Sunday afternoon’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway, where Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney are set to battle for the championship.

Tune in to NBC at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon for the live broadcast of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race from Phoenix Raceway. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now if you have not already done so!

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The 2024 season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, February 18 with the 66th Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, though the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum preseason exhibition race is scheduled to unofficially get the season underway on Sunday, February 4 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.