Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM


NASCAR Silly Season Update: Who’s Going Where?

Now that the checkered flag has waved on another NASCAR season, drivers, teams and fans will wait with bated breath until the Daytona 500 in less than 100 days. Being that NASCAR’s offseason is the shortest in all of sports, it translates to the silly season, A.K.A. free agency, being ramped up a notch. Let’s look at what’s happening in the garage.


  • With Johnson winning his record-tying seventh championship, Chase Elliott winning Rookie of the Year honors and Kasey Kahne’s contract being renewed through 2018, three of the four cars at HMS are secure for the foreseeable future.
  • The same can’t be said of the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. After suffering a concussion midway through the season, he never returned behind the wheel. Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon substituted for him, and Earnhardt Jr. is expected to be cleared for 2017. But that begs the question: how much longer does he have?
    • Answer: we aren’t sure. But as long as Bowman stays within the Hendrick organization, one has to believe that he would get the nod to drive the No. 88. With an exceptional performance at Phoenix as a bright spot, he is still out of a ride for 2017. We’ll see if he stays at HMS or leaves the nest for another ride.


  • It’s all good in this hood. All four drivers qualified for the Chase and are under contract for the next couple years. Nobody coming in, nobody going out for the dominant team throughout the second half of 2015 and all of 2016 in NASCAR’s top series.


  • Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick are all staying put at SHR.
  • But with Tony Stewart retiring from NASCAR competition, that leaves the No. 14 with a new driver in Clint Bowyer. After a dismal season at HScott Motorsports, he comes over to SHR to try and revive his career, taking the seat from the three-time Cup champion.


  • Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano aren’t going anywhere if they keep contending for wins, like they did a lot in 2016.


  • The same can be said for CGR with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. Their contracts and sponsors are in it for the long haul, and they performed very well in 2016.
    • In fact, they ended 2016 with both cars finishing in the top five, with the No. 42 leading the most laps before getting passed by champion Jimmie Johnson in overtime. Larson also earned his first win of his career at Michigan in August.


  • Martin Truex Jr. had the best season of his career, and now he’s getting a teammate.
    • Erik Jones will make the move from XFINITY to Cup and drive the No. 77 Toyota with sponsorship from 5-Hour Energy. This was the major Silly Season move during 2016, and with FRR moving to a second car for the first time in their team’s history, they’re bound to have success with a proven champion.


  • After fielding three full-time cars in 2016, RFR seems as if they’ll field two in 2017.
    • That’s because Greg Biffle, a veteran in the sport who’s been with RFR for all 19 years of his career, announced on Monday that he wasn’t returning to the team in 2017 and would pursue “other opportunities, particularly in radio and television.” He seems content to retire, although nothing’s been announced yet.


  • Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard will all be back at RCR for 2017.


  • Casey Mears has been rumored to be on the way out, and Ty Dillon has been rumored to be on the way in. Germain has a technical alliance with RCR, and Dillon is the grandson of team owner Richard Childress. All signs point to him wheeling the No. 13 Chevrolet next season. But if he isn’t in that car, he would probably be with our next team.


  • Although AJ Allmendinger has been the lone car out of that stable, there have been rumors swirling that the team will add a second car. A possible driver was thought to be Biffle. But with him moving on from the sport, Dillon seems to be a logical answer there.


  • Two full time cars come out of this stable in Chase contender and Pocono winner Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill. Buescher, the 2015 XFINITY champion, has been rumored to be moving elsewhere, but nothing else seems imminent at FRM at the moment.


  • Ryan Blaney (finished second in Rookie of the Year standings) will race full-time once again for this team in 2017. WBR recently moved their shops from Virginia to North Carolina, taking over HScott Motorsports’ headquarters.


  • As mentioned above, they don’t have a race shop anymore. The No. 15 of Bowyer is leaving for SHR, and the No. 46 of Michael Annett has moved down to the XFINITY Series for a full-time ride with JR Motorsports. All signs to this team ceasing to exist in 2017.


  • This has been one of it not the most disappointing team in 2016. Aric Almirola took multiple steps back after qualifying for the Chase in 2014, and his teammate will no longer be with him.
  • Brian Scott announced his surprise retirement towards the end of the 2016 season. That leaves an open seat in the No. 44 car at RPM. Anybody could end up in that seat. From Alex Bowman, to Regan Smith, to Chris Buescher, etc.


  • Matt DiBenedetto, Jeffrey Earnhardt and David Ragan make up this three-car team. However, they are bottom feeders. Plain and simple. Those three drivers are slated to remain in those three cars for 2017.


  • Michael McDowell has been the lone car in the No. 95 for this team, but it has also been rumored that a second car (No. 59) will become full-time in 2017. Ty Dillon has also been rumored to be a possible candidate for this ride, along with some others.


  • Unfortunately, team owner Tommy Baldwin announced that TBR was closing shop at seasons end. The No. 7 car of Regan Smith will be no more. Where will he end up for 2017? We aren’t sure.


  • Sprint has been the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series for 13 years. It started out as Nextel in 2004, and changed to Sprint a few years later. Starting in 2017, the Cup Series will have a new title sponsor.
  • CEO and Chairman Brian France has not announced who the sponsor will be, but says they have a couple companies (reported to be Monster and Coca-Cola, among others) on their radars and expect to have an announcement within the next few weeks. Silly Season doesn’t discriminate: sponsors come and go too, you know!

Keep it locked to Impact Sports for all your offseason news and updates, as well as team reviews/previews throughout the offseason. Speedweeks are right around turn four!

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