With NASCAR Cup cars collecting dust and cobwebs sitting idle in the shop and race tracks growing weeks in the pavement it seemed like a good time to talk about the 2021 NASCAR Silly Season.
A number of high profile free agents are on the market as well as some competitive rides at NASCAR’s biggest teams. Ryan Blaney jump-started silly season when he re-signed with Team Penske taking his name out of the running for Jimmie Johnson’s #48 car. Blaney is the future of Penske while one of their current stars could be on his way out.
Silly season is all about making predictions, I’m going all Jeff Darlington and calling these predictions before they even happen like Brady to Tampa.
Kyle Larson – Chip Ganassi Racing has given Larson everything he has wanted outside of an A+ pit crew and crew chief. Larson will leave CGR at the end of the 2020 season and join Stewart-Haas Racing replacing Clint Bowyer and becomes the heir apparent to Kevin Harvick, gets top-notch factory support, and can continue dirt racing. Something Hendrick Motorsports wouldn’t allow him to do if he took over the #48.
Brad Keselowski – Team Penske’s veteran has shown signs of serious frustration through the first four races of 2020. The 2012 Champ followed up his Daytona outburst but making comments at Phoenix that while he hasn’t spoken to anyone about next season but he would pick up the phone if someone called in. Keselowski left HMS with a bad taste in his mouth. Both sides feel like there is unfinished business, Brad Keselowski will move to HMS in 2021. Whether it’s the #88 or the #48 is TBD.
Erik Jones – The 2-time Cup Series winner will almost certainly be looking for a new home in 2021. Winning The Southern 500 in 2019 certainly helped Jones keep his ride for 2020, his poor performance in the playoffs didn’t help. Jones will be replaced by Christopher Bell next year in what could just be a ride swap. Look for Jones at Leavine Family Racing.
Alex Bowman – Bowman now has a win in each of the last two seasons including a dominating performance in the third race of this season. That should be enough to save his seat at HMS, now if they could just find sponsorship. Bowman could slide to the #48 next season if Keselowski doesn’t want to be overshadowed by Johnson.
Clint Bowyer – In his 15th season, Bowyer has reached the end of the road. The 40-year old has had an increased role with FOX Sports this season and that’s exactly where you’ll see him in 2021.
Aric Almirola – After three seasons and 1 win with SHR it’s time for Almirola to move on. Smithfield re-upped for the 2020 season and it feels like the 2021 season is in jeopardy. Without Smithfield, Almirola isn’t a very attractive asset. A landing spot at a competitive Xfinity team makes all the sense, be the next Elliott Sadler and shake your fist at the youths.
Corey LaJoie – Famously handed Rick Hendrick a handwritten letter to keep him in mind when picking Jimmie Johnson’s replacement. LaJoie is a very solid driver who gets more out of his GoFas equipment than he should. However, he won’t be in the #48 next season. LaJoie could end up at SHR replacing Almirola if they can find sponsorship. Or potentially Wood Brothers?
Matt DiBenedetto- Matty D. bet on himself when he left GoFas at the end of 2018 with no plans for 2019. He landed at LFR and parlayed that into a ride with the famed Wood Brothers. He’s about to parlay that into a ride at Team Penske after Brad K moves to HMS next season.
Where do you think everyone will end up in 2021? Let us know in the comments or tell us on social;
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