39 days to NASCAR’s Cup Series season opener

39 days to NASCAR’s Cup Series season opener

With just 39 days to go before the green flag drops for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, this is a brief look at 2021 driver stats and what’s ahead in the new season. Kyle Busch and others in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series will be covered this week. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2022 plans, follow NASCAR Headlines and “Player” News on this website for the latest updates. The tentative list of Cup Driver/Team lineups shown below is for those who plan on entering all events, including teams with multiple drivers splitting time in one car.

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

2021: William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevrolet Camaro), a Charlotte , North Carolina native, entered all 36 NCS races. He scored one win (the February 28th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway), 12 top-five and 20 top-ten finishes, had an 8.7 average start, a 13.6 average finish and led 425 laps. With the Homestead win, Byron earned a spot in the 2021 NCS Playoffs Round of 16. He advanced to the Round of 12 but was eliminated from the Playoffs before the start of the Round of 8. Byron closed out the rest of the season 10th in the NCS driver standings.
2022: Byron has signed a contract with HMS through 2022 to stay in the #24 Chevy. Rudy Fugle will continue as his crew chief. Axalta, Liberty University and Valvoline will also continue through 2022 as Byron’s sponsors.

2021: Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota Camry), a Las Vegas, Nevada native, entered all 36 NCS races. He scored two wins (May 2nd at Kansas Speedway and June 27th at Pocono Raceway), 14 top-five and 22 top-ten finishes, had a 10.4 average start, a 12.8 average finish and led 334 laps. With the wins, Busch earned a spot in the 2021 NCS Playoffs Round of 16, advanced through the Round of 12 and the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the Championship 4 race. He closed out the rest of the season 9th in the NCS driver standings. Busch entered five Xfinity Series races driving JGR’s #54 Toyota Supra and won all five events. He also drove his own KBM #51 Toyota Tundra in five truck races; won two races, finished 2nd in the other three.
2022: Kyle Busch is signed through at least 2022 as driver in JGR’s #18 Camry. Ben Beshore will return as crew chief for the team. M&M’s has announced they will “depart NASCAR following the end of 2022” but will continue covering several races for the #18 Camry this season. Other sponsors, Interstate Batteries, Sport Clips, Stanley and Rheem, will return as primary sponsors for the other events.

NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)

2021: Jeb Burton (Kaulig Racing #10 Chevrolet Camaro), a Halifax, Virginia native, entered all 33 NXS races. He scored one win (April 24th at Talladega Superspeedway), seven top-fives, 16 top-tens, had an 8.7 average start, a 13.6 average finish and led 84 laps. The Talladega victory earned him a spot in the 2021 NXS Playoffs Round of 12 but he was eliminated before the Round of 8. He closed out the rest of the season 10th in the NXS driver standings.
2022: At the end of 2021, Burton announced he would not return to Kaulig Racing in 2022. Landon Cassill has already been announced as the new driver of the #10 Camaro. Burton has joined Our Motorsports, with a two-year contract, to pilot the #27 Chevrolet Camaro in the Xfinity Series. Chad Walter will be handling the crew chief work for the team. No word yet on sponsorship for the #27. Burton will have Brett Moffitt and Anthony Alfredo as teammates at Our Motorsports.

2021: Myatt Snider (Richard Childress Racing #2 Chevrolet Camaro), a Charlotte, North Carolina native, entered all 33 NXS races. He scored one win (February 27th at Homestead-Miami Speedway), 11 top-tens, had an average start of 12.8, an average finish of 17.0 and led 9 laps. Snider earned a spot in the 2021 NXS Playoffs Round of 12 but was eliminated before the Round of 8. He closed out the rest of the season 9th in the NXS driver standings.
2022: Snider moved to Jordan Anderson Racing (an affiliate of RCR) to drive the #31 Chevrolet Camaro full-time this season. He brought longtime sponsor TaxSlayer with him to JAR. The team will field Chevys built by RCR and use engines supplied by ECR (Earnhardt-Childress Racing). Artie Haire will be the crew chief for the #31 team.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NTS)

2021: Carson Hocevar (Niece Motorsports #42 Chevrolet Silverado), a Portage, Michigan native, entered all 22 NTS races. He scored three top-fives, eight top-tens, had a 9.2 average start, a 12.8 average finish and led 42 laps. His best finish was 2nd place in the May 28th race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He earned a spot in the 2021 NTS Playoffs Round of 10, advanced to the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the Championship 4 at Phoenix. He closed out the rest of the season 10th in the NTS driver standings.
2022: Hocevar will return full-time in Niece’s #42 Silverado. Cody Efaw will also continue as crew chief. Nothing firm yet on sponsors for the team.

2021: Austin Hill (Hattori Racing Enterprises #16 Toyota Tundra), a Winston, Georgia native, entered all 22 NTS races. He scored two wins (July 9th at Knoxville (IA) Raceway and August 7th at the Watkins Glen International road coarse), eight top-fives, 15 top-tens, had an 8.2 average start, an 11.2 average finish and led 75 laps. He earned a spot in the 2021 NTS Playoffs Round of 10 but was eliminated before the Round of 8. Hill closed out the rest of the season 9th in the NTS driver standings.
2022: Late in the 2021 season, Hill made it known that he would not return to Hattori’s Truck team. Richard Childress Racing announced in October that Hill joined RCR’s Xfinity Series stable to drive full-time in 2022. The car number, crew chief and sponsors have not been revealed at this time. Tyler Ankrum was signed to drive Hill’s former Hattori Racing #16 Tundra in 2022.

2022 Tentative NCS Series Team Chart

Car

Driver

Owner

Crew Chief

Sponsor

1 Chevy

Ross Chastain

Trackhouse Racing

Phil Surgen

AdventHealth

2 Ford

Austin Cindric R

Team Penske

Jeremy Bullins

Menards, Discount Tire

3 Chevy

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Justin Alexander

To Be Announced

4 Ford

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Rodney Childers

GearWrench, Rheem

5 Chevy

Kyle Larson

Hendrick Motorsports

Cliff Daniels

HendrickCars.com, Cincinnati, Freightliner, Valvoline

6 Ford

Brad Keselowski

RFK Racing

Matt McCall

Violet Defense, Fastenal, Kohler Generators

7 Chevy

Corey LaJoie

Spire Motorsports

Ryan Sparks

Built Bar

8 Chevy

Tyler Reddick

Richard Childress Racing

Randall Burdett

3CHI

9 Chevy

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Alan Gustafson

NAPA Auto Parts, Adrenaline Shoc, Kelley Blue Book, Hooters, Llumar

10 Ford

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Drew Blickensderfer

Smithfield

11 Toyota

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Chris Gabehart

FedEx

12 Ford

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Jonathan Hassler

Advance Auto Part, BodyArmour, Menards, DEX Imaging, Discount Tire

14 Ford

Chase Briscoe

Stewart-Haas Racing

John Klausmeier

Mahindra Ag North America

15 Ford

To Be Announced

Rick Ware Racing

Pat Tryson

To Be Announced

16 Chevy

AJ Allmendinger

Kaulig Racing

Matt Swiderski

To Be Announced

16 Chevy

Noah Gragson

Kaulig Racing

Matt Swiderski

To Be Announced

16 Chevy

Daniel Hemric

Kaulig Racing

Matt Swiderski

To Be Announced

17 Ford

Chris Buescher

RFK Racing

Scott Graves

Fastenal, Castrol, Fifth Third Bank, Violet Defense

18 Toyota

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Ben Beshore

M&Ms, Skittles, Pedigree, Interstate Batteries, Sports Clips, STANLEY, Rheem

19 Toyota

Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing

James Small

Auto-Owners Insurance

20 Toyota

Christopher Bell

Joe Gibbs Racing

Adam Stevens

Rheem

21 Ford

Harrison Burton R

Wood Brothers Racing

Brian Wilson

Motorcraft/Quick Lane, Menards

22 Ford

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Paul Wolfe

To Be Announced

23 Toyota

Bubba Wallace

23XI Racing

Bootie Barker

McDonald’s, Wheaties, Leidos

24 Chevy

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Rudy Fugle

Axalta, Liberty University, Valvoline

31 Chevy

Justin Haley

Kaulig Racing

Trent Owens

To Be Announced

34 Ford

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Blake Harris

Love’s Travel Stops

38 Ford

Todd Gilliland R

Front Row Motorsports

Seth Barbour

To Be Announced

41 Ford

Cole Custer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Mike Shiplett

Haas Automation / HaasTooling.com

42 Chevy

Ty Dillon

Petty GMS Motorsports

Jerame Donley

To Be Announced

43 Chevy

Erik Jones

Petty GMS Motorsports

Dave Elenz

FOCUSfactor, U.S. Air Force

45 Toyota

Kurt Busch

23XI Racing

Billy Scott

Monster Energy, McDonald’s

47 Chevy

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

JTG Daugherty Racing

Brian Pattie

Kroger, Bushes Beans, NOS Energy Drink, SunnyD, Scott, SweetLeaf, Irish Spring

48 Chevy

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Greg Ives

Ally Financial

52 Ford

To Be Announced

Rick Ware Racing

Jason Houghtaling

To Be Announced

53 Ford

To Be Announced

Rick Ware Racing

To Be Announced

To Be Announced

77 Chevy

Josh Bilicki

Spire Motorsports

To Be Announced

Zeigler Automotive Group

78 Ford

BJ McLeod

Live Fast Motorsports

Frank Kerr

To Be Announced

99 Chevy

Daniel Suarez

Trackhouse Racing

Travis Mack

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

R – Sunoco Rookie of The Year contender