Now that several ride for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup have been confirmed, what’s left? We know that Aric Almirola is set to be announced as the driver of the No. 10 Ford with Stewart-Haas Racing on Wednesday of next week. We also know that Darrell Wallace Jr. was named as the replacement driver for Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports in the famed No. 43 Ford as well.
We know that the No. 77 Toyota with Furniture Row Racing is being shut down due to lack of funding. Furthermore, we know that Kasey Kahne will replace Michael McDowell in the No. 95 Chevrolet with Leavine Family Racing and his ride with Hendrick Motorsports will be filled by a rookie in William Byron. Also, Front Row Motorsports announced that they will have both of their rides open too.
So, what’s left and who’s left to take the remaining rides?
Among the free agents are Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick, McDowell, David Ragan and Landon Cassill. Among the rides available are the No. 27 Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing, the No. 41 Ford with SHR and both the No. 34 and No. 38 Fords with FRM.
Busch likely will stay in his ride with SHR as there’s nothing really left. We know that he was going to explore other avenues but wanted to remain in a ride that’s competitive. Nothing against FRM, but they can’t give him a championship worthy car. So, his best chance to remain relevant is to sign with SHR again for less money.
McDowell is rumored to have some funding and to be heading to one of the FRM cars. That leaves the other FRM car which is open and the RCR Chevy.
There’s also a rumor going around that Danica is heading to a third Roush/Fenway Racing seat, but RFR have been standing pat on their prior assessment of the team that they’re not expanding to a three-car team any time soon. Despite Danica’s boyfriend racing for RFR, they’re not really interested in expanding to another car to appease him. They want to give him competitive cars and expanding this soon again doesn’t make feasible sense.
So, if Danica and Kenseth want to remain in the sport, they have to hope for the third RCR seat or the other FRM seat.
Other than that, silly season is about done.