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How Are Drivers on the Hot Seat Performing So Far?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Cup Series season is deep in the spring stretch and reaches the 1/3 mark this weekend. It’s a good time for a progress report, and certain drivers are counting on big seasons to secure their future. How are drivers on the hot seat performing so far this season?

  • Since “Silly Season” is still a ways away, very little has been reported to this point. We will speculate drivers on the hot seat based on recent performance, news surrounding their team, and contract status.
  • Some drivers are impressive in this big season, but, others are not. Drivers who are struggling might be looking for a new rise at season’s end.
  • Fans watch drivers on the hot seat very closely. These drivers get a lot of praise when they perform well, but, they also get criticism when they don’t.

Chase Briscoe

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
00414.71212th

Chase Briscoe recently told Bob Pockrass that SHR has a team option on him for next season. As of right now, it seems likely that SHR will pick up that option. Briscoe is currently in the Playoffs sitting 12th in points, which easily makes him the top driver in the SHR stable. The sponsorship from Mahindra Tractors helps as well.

Daniel Suarez

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
12218.33918th

Justin Marks revealed following Suarez’s Atlanta win that this is a contract year for him. Suarez helped himself with a win at Atlanta, but, he had only one top-10 finish aside from that, and he sits 18th in points. If he doesn’t turn it around soon and make some noise in the Playoffs, he could be crowded out at Trackhouse.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
01223.6127th

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s future became cloudy thanks to a recent Adam Stern report about one of Stenhouse’s team owners, Tad Geshickter. If Geschickter indeed leaves, then JTG-Daugherty Racing may need a new driver. Stenhouse’s prowess on superspeedways makes him an interesting potential free agent.

Josh Berry

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
00022.63124th

Josh Berry could be in the eye of the SHR storm should SHR sell charters. Berry hasn’t done much so far, but, he’s still a rookie. That being said, he doesn’t bring much funding with him, so, if SHR does sell, Berry could be an interesting driver to watch.

Austin Cindric

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
01122.66719th

Austin Cindric suffered from a sophomore slump in 2023, and that continues so far in 2024. He sits 51 points out of the Playoffs, and he has been a nonfactor most of the season. He does have solid connections at Team Penske, however, and Ford is noticeably dry in their prospect pool.

Noah Gragson

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
01417.31021st

Noah Gragson has been impressive so far in 2024 with 4 top-10s. Take away the penalty from Atlanta, which was not his fault, and Gragson would be in the top 20 in points, 45 points out of the Playoffs. For a team and driver that struggled massively in 2023, that’s not a bad season for Gragson at all. However, just like Berry, Gragson may need to fight for his ride if SHR sells charters.

Harrison Burton

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
00127.3732nd

Harrison Burton is in his 3rd season with the Wood Brothers, and he’s performing at the same level as the previous two seasons. The issue with Burton is a lack of improvement, but, Ford is thin in its’ prospect pool. That could save Burton, but, that doesn’t excuse that he’s not doing any better.

Ryan Preece

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
00120.2028th

Ryan Preece could also be on the chopping block if SHR sells charters. He’s easily the worst SHR driver of the season in points, but, taking away that Atlanta penalty would vault him above Berry in points. Preece doesn’t bring much funding to the table, and he’s not doing much on track currently.

These drives are ones to watch as the 2024 season goes on. How they perform could directly impact how silly season goes.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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