This week’s bombshell news of forthcoming changes at Roush Fenway Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing touched off a new dimension to NASCAR’s Silly Season, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. suddenly becoming a free agent and an empty seat emerging for the No. 37 ride.
Speculation is rampant about where the key players might wind up next season. With plenty of potential landing spots, we present wildly unofficial, semi-arbitrary odds for 10 potential pairings for 2020.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.
JTG Daugherty Racing: A Stenhouse signing with the No. 37 team would amount to a straight swap with Roush Fenway for Chris Buescher’s services. A solid fit? Only if the JTG bunch opts against skewing younger than the 31-year-old Stenhouse. Odds: 10-1.
Front Row Motorsports: The vacancy created by David Ragan’s retirement could keep Stenhouse in the Cup Series with a move to the No. 38 ride. Stenhouse would add a veteran’s touch as the team continues to rebuild. Odds: 15-1.
Stewart-Haas Racing: A jostling of the SHR roster could mean an upgrade within the Ford camp for Stenhouse, but Xfinity prospect Cole Custer seems to be the front-runner for any open seat there. Odds: 20-1.
Richard Childress Racing: The No. 8 Cup Series seat seems destined for budding star Tyler Reddick, which would create a vacancy within RCR’s Xfinity Series program. Enter Stenhouse for a Sadler-ian reinvention of his career? Odds: 25-1.
Chip Ganassi Racing: Kurt Busch’s rejuvenation this season seems to add up for a return to CGR’s No. 1 team to extend his driving career. But if another unforeseen shake-up emerges, ponder the dynamics of a dirt-racing dream team with Stenhouse and Kyle Larson. Odds: 42-1.
JTG DAUGHERTY RACING
Daniel Hemric: With Christopher Bell and Matt DiBenedetto off the board, the departing RCR driver moves to the top reaches of the free-agency list. Potentially landing as a teammate to Ryan Preece would give the organization a pairing of two young racers with old-school cred. Odds: 5-1.
Ross Chastain: Few drivers in the Xfinity and Gander Trucks ranks have done more to promote themselves with their own success this season. If anyone deserves a bump up the competition ladder, it’s the plucky Chastain. Odds: 8-1.
Corey LaJoie: The 28-year-old journeyman has proved himself as a steady presence in his first year with Go Fas Racing. A move to the No. 37 would be a logical step up; his personality and marketability don’t hurt that cause. Odds: 12-1.
Landon Cassill: Speaking of marketability, StarCom Racing’s current driver merits consideration to fill the No. 37’s void. His extraordinary efforts in helping Morgan Shepherd’s Xfinity Series car overachieve should not be overlooked. Odds: 18-1.
Brett Moffitt: Last year’s Gander Trucks champion has some Cup Series seasoning already, last competing in NASCAR’s top division in 2017. Is the 27-year-old driver’s recent performance surge in the Gander Trucks tour enough to warrant the promotion? Odds: 24-1.