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How Do “New” NASCAR Teams Generally Do?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

In 2024, there are currently three new NASCAR teams joining the National Touring Series full-time. Starting a NASCAR team is difficult to do, but, when they succeed, it makes for a great story. How well do these “New” NASCAR teams usually do?

  • For this list, we will focus on the NASCAR Cup Series, and we will look at all new Cup Series team owners from 2016 onwards. The 2016 season was the first year of the current charter system, so that gives us an idea of the expectations of a modern new Cup Series team.
  • We will also focus on teams who attempted at least one full season. Part-time entrants are not eligible for this list. Also, this will not include teams being reborn or rebranded, but rather teams who start in the Cup Series from scratch for the first time.
  • Fans are always excited when a brand-new NASCAR team is announced. However, does that excitement usually translate to success on the race track?

Rick Ware Racing (2017-Present)

Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5; 8 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 33rd

Rick Ware Racing joined the Cup Series in 2017, minus a one-off start with Timmy Hill in 2012, and they purchased a charter to run full-time in 2018. Since then, RWR has been a staple of the Cup Series grid, but, they have been more of an afterthought to many for most of their history. The team consistently fielded multiple drivers with multiple manufacturers, and they failed to find any consistent competitive speed.

However, things started to look up in the 2020s. Alliances with Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing, and RFK Racing have given the team some much-needed legitimacy, and signing Justin Haley for the 2024 season shows the team’s desire to get better. Even then, the team is still around, so, that’s more than other teams on this list can say.

StarCom Racing (2017-2021)

Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 0 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 32nd

StarCom Racing started in 2017 with 1990 Daytona 500 winner, Derrike Cope, as the team’s manager. The team secured a charter and ran full-time from 2018 until 2021 with drivers Landon Cassill and Quinn Houff taking on the bulk of the driving duties. The team never recorded a top-10 finish.

StarCom just never got fully off the ground, and, in 2021, they sold their charter. Rumor is that StarCom was concerned NASCAR would revoke their charter if performance did not pick up in 2022, so, the charter was sold to 23XI Racing. This turned into the 45 car.

Gaunt Brothers Racing (2017-2021)

Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 0 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 31st

Gaunt Brothers Racing ran part-time between 2017 and 2019, but, in 2020, they tried to go big. They signed Daniel Suarez to race full-time for the team despite no charter. The season started by failing to qualify for the Daytona 500.

Suarez limped to a 31st-place points finish that season, and the Gaunt Brothers faded out of the sport after a part-time season in 2021. The lack of a charter likely hurt their prospects, but, their performance was not on par either.

Spire Motorsports (2019-Present)

Stats: 1 Win; 5 Top-5s; 10 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 26th

Spire Motorsports was born from the ashes of Furniture Row Racing. The team has gotten better and better every single year. The team won a race thanks to a perfectly timed lightning strike at Daytona in 2019, and they expanded to two cars in 2021 with Corey LaJoie joining the team.

In 2023, the team expanded further by purchasing a third charter for 2024, buying out Kyle Busch Motorsports, and bringing in young drivers Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar for 2024. This team is set to be one of the most interesting teams in NASCAR in 2024, and they are only getting better.

23XI Racing (2021-Present)

Stats: 5 wins; 28 Top-5s; 48 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 6th

In 2021, Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin founded 23XI Racing. They purchased a charter from the now-defunct Germain Racing, and Bubba Wallace was announced as the driver. The team has slowly improved every year since.

Wallace won a race in 2021, and the team expanded to two cars with Kurt Busch joining the team in 2022. Busch had the team qualify for the Playoffs in 2022, and both cars qualified for the Playoffs in 2023 after Tyler Reddick joined. Now, this team is a true Playoff contender.

Trackhouse Racing (2021-Present)

Stats: 6 Wins; 36 Top-5s; 64 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 2nd

In 2021, Justin Marks and Pitbull started Trackhouse Racing thanks to leasing a charter from Spire Motorsports. Daniel Suarez joined the team with the 99 car, but the team made a bigger splash by buying out Chip Ganassi Racing. Ross Chastin joined the team, and he made the Championship 4.

The team also made a splash with Project 91, which brought SVG to the United States. This team is all about finding unique ways to get into the sport. The question is, what more is up their sleeve?

Kaulig Racing (2021-Present)

Stats: 2 Wins; 13 Top-5s; 30 Top-10s; Best Owner’s Points Finish: 21st

Kaulig Racing moved up to the Cup Series after a solid few seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Haley were the drivers for their first two full-time seasons. The team has two Cup Series wins including one in their part-time season of 2021.

Many were excited to see Kaulig move up to the Cup Series in 2022, but, they have not found the same success. Still, they are an established race team, and they will be interesting to watch.

Conclusion

The success of new Cup Series teams varies from team to team. Five of the seven teams who joined the Cup Series during this time frame are still in the sport, so, the investment has generally worked out in the long term.

Race teams that get the right people in the right places can have success in their early years. Teams like Trackhouse and 23XI made the Playoffs in only their second season. However, teams like Rick Ware Racing and Spire Motorsports are still looking for that first Playoff appearance.

Starting a Cup Series team is a difficult endeavor. However, those who join the Cup Series usually find a way to have some sort of success.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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