NASCAR: 4 driver moves that won't pay off (and 1 that will)

Several teams made driver changes for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, but don't be surprised if not all of the moves work out.
A.J. Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, NASCAR / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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No. 3 - Won't: Daniel Hemric to Kaulig Racing

Justin Haley shocked the NASCAR world over the summer when he announced that he would be leaving Kaulig Racing, where he had competed since the 2019 Xfinity Series season, and joining Rick Ware Racing full-time for the 2024 Cup Series season.

A driver confirmation relating to Rick Ware Racing ordinarily wouldn't have attracted much attention, but Haley is an up-and-coming driver whom many believed Kaulig Racing were going to build around for the long haul. That will not be the case.

Instead, the team have hired Daniel Hemric to take his place behind the wheel of the No. 31 Chevrolet. Hemric most recently competed full-time in the Cup Series in 2019, but he lost his ride with Richard Childress Racing after a disappointing rookie season.

He competed for Kaulig Racing in the 2022 and 2023 Xfinity Series seasons but failed to win a race, recording just nine top five finishes along the way. He also made eight Cup Series starts for the team in 2022 and recorded just two top 20 finishes.

In 283 career starts across NASCAR's three national series, he has just one win, though that win did happen to secure him the 2021 Xfinity Series title with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Haley didn't exactly light the world on fire at Kaulig Racing, posting 22nd and 26th place finishes in the point standings during his two full Cup Series seasons with the team, but it's hard to argue that Hemric is much of an upgrade. Haley is nearly a decade younger and owns eight victories in 266 NASCAR starts, including one in the Cup Series.