2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series preview and entry list
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the 71st season of the professional stock car racing in the USA, will kick-off this week at Daytona International Speedway with two exhibition races and then with the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 17.
There are no changes on the Cup Series calendar for 2019 and the schedule features the same 36 races as in 2018. As usual, the regular season will end with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September while the Playoffs will end with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17.
Ford Mustang GT is replacing Fusion
The biggest change, compared to previous seasons, is that Ford will be represented with a new car as Mustang GT is replacing Fusion. Ford Fusion was serving in NASCAR since 2006.
The other two manufacturers, Chevrolet and Toyota, will stay involved with the same models – Camaro ZL1 and Camry. All cars will compete under the new rules package which reduced the engine’s power from 750 to 550 bhp.
Joey Logano will defend a title in the #22 Ford
On the grid, Joey Logano will appear in the #22 Ford Mustang GT of Team Penske as defending champion. Logano will be one of three drivers in The Captain’s team, the other two are Brad Keselowski (#2) and Ryan Blaney (#12).
The biggest change among drivers is that Martin Truex Jr., the 2017 Cup Series champion and last year’s runner-up, joined Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the #19 Toyota Camry. His former team Furniture Row Racing closed the doors at the end of 2018. Truex will be a teammate to Denny Hamlin (#11), Kyle Busch (#18) and Erik Jones (#20).
Four rookies on a full-time schedule
The fifth Toyota on the grid will be Leavine Family Racing’s #95 Camry for Matt DiBenedetto. Obaika Racing, after running a car on a part-time schedule in 2018, is entering the full season in the Cup Series with the #97 Toyota for a rookie Tanner Berryhill.
Three more rookies announced as full-time drivers are Ryan Preece (JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Chevrolet), Daniel Hemric (Richard Childress Racing #8 Chevrolet) and Matt Tifft (Front Row Motorsports #36 Ford). Quin Houff is announced in his rookie season for sixteen races in the #77 Chevrolet of Spire Motorsports.
New teams for Daniel Suarez, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman
Daniel Suarez, who was driving the #19 Toyota in 2018, moved from JGR to Stewart-Haas Racing to drive the #41 Ford Mustang. His teammates will be Kevin Harvick (#4), Aric Almirola (#10) and Clint Bowyer (#14).
Two more top drivers who changed both the team and the manufacturer are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Busch moved from SHR’s Ford to Chip Ganassi Racing’s #1 Chevrolet while Newman moved from Richard Childress Racing’s Chevrolet to Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 Ford.
New sponsor for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson
Among three top teams that will have four cars on the grid (Stewart-Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports) only Rick Hendrick’s team will have unchanged line-up of drivers, with Chase Elliott (#9), William Byron (#24), Jimmie Johnson (#48) and Alex Bowman (#88) driving Hendrick’s Chevrolets.
However, there will be a big change on the #48 Chevrolet of the seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson because Lowe’s ended the 17-year-long partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson’s new main sponsor will be Ally Financial.
2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry list
|Chevrolet||Chip Ganassi Racing||1||Kurt Busch|
|Hendrick Motorsports||9||Chase Elliott|
|Richard Childress Racing||3||Austin Dillon|
|Germain Racing||13||Ty Dillon|
|JTG Daugherty Racing||37||Chris Buescher|
|Premium Motorsports||15||Ross Chastain|
|Richard Petty Motorsports||43||Darrell Wallace Jr|
|Spire Motorsports||40/77||Jamie McMurray, Quin Houff, TBA|
|Ford||Team Penske||2||Brad Keselowski|
|Stewart-Haas Racing||4||Kevin Harvick|
|Roush Fenway Racing||6||Ryan Newman|
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr|
|Front Row Motorsports||34||Michael McDowell|
|Go Fas Racing||32||Corey LaJoie|
|Wood Brothers Racing||21||Paul Menard|
|Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing||11||Denny Hamlin|
|19||Martin Truex Jr|
|Leavine Family Racing||95||Matt DiBenedetto|
|Obaika Racing||97||Tanner Berryhill|
|Chevrolet/Ford||Rick Ware Racing||51||Cody Ware|
|52||BJ McLeod, Mike Wallace, TBA|