NASCAR silly season is getting a late start this year but it appears the first dominoes have started to fall.
While everyone sits around waiting to see what TRD and Joe Gibbs Racing do with can’t miss prospect Christopher Bell it appears we have a better idea as to where he’ll end up.
Matt DiBenedetto Is OUT
NASCAR’s version of “Woj” Adam Stern tweeted Tuesday evening that Matt DiBenedetto will lose his seat in the #95 Toyota Camry and not return to the Leavine Family Racing team in 2020.
This news comes on the heels of 3 Top-10 finishes in the last 6 races for DiBenedetto. And comes only two weeks after he said: “no one can do better than me in this car.” A statement he had to make, and one that any driver would make.
However, when faced with the decision to take either Erik Jones or Christopher Bell next year it’s a pretty easy decision for LFR to make. If Jones is cast out to LFR the team gets a race winner and a guy who is on a hot streak this summer of really solid finishes. If Bell is sent to LFR to get his feet wet in the Cup Series the team gets the hottest prospect in years in their car even if they’ll eventually lose him to JGR.
For LFR this is a business decision. Taking one of the JGR contracted drivers gives them the best chance to get to victory lane. Not only do they get a driver they get more resources, at least you’d have to assume so.
For DiBenedetto, this isn’t great news, actually bad. However, he was just announced as the driver of the #18 JGR Xfinity car for next weekend’s race at Road America. Maybe it’s just a coincidence or maybe he’s in consideration for an Xfinity ride at JGR next year.
Clint Bowyer Staying?
Stewart-Haas Racing has three cars that don’t have contracted drivers for 2020. Aric Almirola’s deal is dependent on Smithfield re-signing, same with Daniel Suarez and Arris.
Clint Bowyer doesn’t bring a majority sponsor to the table and he is in a contract year. However, the 2-time race winner for SHR appears to be close to re-signing with the team.
Once again Adam Stern had the scoop on this one too.
This is a bit of s surprise. While Bowyer is a marketer dream in terms of an outgoing personality his results on the track have been pedestrian at best. In 2017 he finished 18th in points and missed The Playoffs. Last season he made The Playoffs thanks to his 2 wins but finished 12th in the points. This season he is winless and currently sits on the bubble for The Playoffs. Not great.
SHR has Cole Custer literally chomping at the bit to get into the Cup Series. It’s interesting that SHR seems less than interested in moving him up.
Silly season is about to get into full swing. Strap in.
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