2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series preview and entry list

February 10, 2019
Featured, News
Marijan Malcevic

  • NASCAR Cup Series grid
  • NASCAR Cup Series
  • Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR

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.

NASCAR Cup Series cars during a test at Las vegas

NASCAR Cup Series cars during a test at Las vegas

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's #22 Ford Mustang

Joey Logano’s #22 Ford Mustang

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.

Kurt Busch moved from Stewart-Haas Racing to Chip Ganassi Racing

Still sponsored by Monster Energy, Kurt Busch moved from Stewart-Haas Racing to Chip Ganassi Racing

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.

Jimmie Johnson

The seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson

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.

Daytona International Speedway

The NASCAR season traditionally kicks-off at Daytona International Speedway

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry list

ChevroletChip Ganassi Racing1Kurt Busch
42Kyle Larson
Hendrick Motorsports9Chase Elliott
24William Byron
48Jimmie Johnson
88Alex Bowman
Richard Childress Racing3Austin Dillon
8Daniel Hemric
Germain Racing13Ty Dillon
JTG Daugherty Racing37Chris Buescher
47Ryan Preece
Premium Motorsports15Ross Chastain
Richard Petty Motorsports43Darrell Wallace Jr
Spire Motorsports40/77Jamie McMurray, Quin Houff, TBA
StarCom0Landon Cassill
FordTeam Penske2Brad Keselowski
12Ryan Blaney
22Joey Logano
Stewart-Haas Racing4Kevin Harvick
10Aric Almirola
14Clint Bowyer
41Daniel Suarez
Roush Fenway Racing6Ryan Newman
17Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Front Row Motorsports34Michael McDowell
36Matt Tifft
38David Ragan
Go Fas Racing32Corey LaJoie
Wood Brothers Racing21Paul Menard
ToyotaJoe Gibbs Racing11Denny Hamlin
18Kyle Busch
19Martin Truex Jr
20Erik Jones
Leavine Family Racing95Matt DiBenedetto
Obaika Racing97Tanner Berryhill
Chevrolet/FordRick Ware Racing51Cody Ware
52BJ McLeod, Mike Wallace, TBA

Photos: NASCAR, David Becker/Getty Images,

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