NASCAR: 5 drivers who cannot afford a bad 2024 season

Several drivers are set to enter a make-or-break NASCAR Cup Series season in 2024, as their performance will be held under a microscope.

Austin Cindric, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, NASCAR
Austin Cindric, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, NASCAR / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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No. 2 - Harrison Burton

While Team Penske confirming Austin Cindric's return for a third season wasn't much of a surprise, Team Penske-affiliated Wood Brothers Racing confirming Harrison Burton's return for a third season was somewhat of an eyebrow-raiser.

The No. 21 Ford has become somewhat of a revolving door as of late, with no driver having spent more than two full seasons behind the wheel since Ricky Rudd drove it from 2003 to 2005. The fact that Burton is set to be the one to change that is rather interesting.

In a car that two of the three previous drivers took to the playoffs, Burton has managed just a single top five finish and three additional top 10 finishes in his first two seasons in the sport, and he regressed in year number two, finishing in 31st place in the point standings compared to 29th as a rookie.

Not since Ryan Blaney's rookie season in 2016 had a driver of the No. 21 Ford finished lower than 19th place in the standings. Blaney, Paul Menard, and Matt DiBenedetto have each driven the car since, with Blaney earning a victory and both him and DiBenedetto getting to the postseason.

Aside from leading a few laps in superspeedway races here and there, Burton has shown absolutely no signs of getting close to the postseason. Another disappointing year will almost have to spell another driver change for a team that has been sitting on 99 wins for nearly seven years.