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Is it true that Matt’s driving the No. 88 next year?

The dominoes are falling into place. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring. Kenseth’s out at Joe Gibbs Racing, and Erik Jones is taking over the No. 20 Toyota.


Now, the hottest silly season rumor surrounds the popular No. 88 ride and who’s going to drive it next year.


Sure, it’s been in good hands over the past several seasons, winning races and showing up in the playoffs. And the guy behind the wheel of the No. 88 isn’t too shabby, either: His two consecutive NASCAR championships may not have come in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but he’s got two rings nonetheless.


While nothing’s been officially announced about the future of the No. 88 machine yet, that’s not stopping the rumor mill from churning. Even though many scenarios seem downright made-up, there’s one Toyota driver’s name that continues to surface.



It seems like suddenly everybody’s saying that Matt’s going to race the No. 88 ride next year. Yes, that Matt: the veteran NASCAR champion often seen wearing a black and yellow fire suit who’s driven for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy Series. Will he return to JGR alongside new teammate Erik Jones, or will he pilot the ol’ double-eight?

And, speaking of the No. 88 team, will Matt — according to current team member Junior — join ‘er?

Despite all the change Silly Season presents, two things are certain: the No. 88 has been a championship-caliber ride with Junior in the mix. And Matt’s a proven champion driver.


But, upon performing extensive research — most notably checking the past 16 seasons’ worth of statistical data — it appears that Matt already drives the No. 88. Could it be true?


How did everybody miss this?!

Daniel Shirey | Getty Images

One thing’s for sure: it’d be a real shock if Matt Crafton didn’t return to the Junior Joiner-led No. 88 Toyota he’s raced for years in the Camping World Truck Series. Matt and Junior have won races and taken the No. 88 to two titles, after all. And, sure, Crafton has raced in Cup — once, as a substitute — but why mess with a good thing?


As for Matt Kenseth? Well, nobody’s really certain yet — where he lands is anybody’s guess. You read some ridiculous things online.