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How NASCAR Silly Season Has Been Turned Upside Down

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Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR Silly Season has not unfolded exactly as people expected. Daily Downforce fans may recall that we tried to make some sense of how NASCAR Silly Season looked or was going to play out.

It’s safe to say that some new players have been added to NASCAR Silly Season in recent weeks. How has NASCAR Silly Season been turned upside down since that innocent article written 20 days ago?

Martin Truex Jr. Retirement Talks Gain Steam

For a long time, Martin Truex Jr. retiring seemed to be unlikely. He was winning races, and he seemed to have put the difficult 2022 season behind him. However, the tune has changed somewhat in recent weeks.

Following his win at New Hampshire on July 17, Truex Jr. was very introspective about his future. He discusses his future plans, or lack thereof. He got very raw about what he had to consider when thinking retirement.

It seems that retirement is more of an option than people would think it may be. The question then becomes, what does Joe Gibbs Racing do if Truex retires? They could go for a guy like John Hunter Nemechek in the Xfinity Series, but his funding is a big issue.

Joe Gibbs Racing does not have an easy contingency plan, so it makes for a tough situation. Gibbs wants and needs Truex to make a decision and soon.

SVG To NASCAR Seems More Likely

Following his win at the Chicago Street Race, Shane Van Gisbergen going to NASCAR full-time seemed like a 2025 thing, but now, it seems like it could happen sooner. SVG is going to race again in NASCAR at Indianapolis in August. This comes on the heels of Connor O’Brien of V8 Sleuth saying that SVG received “Multiple full-time Cup Series offers”.

SVG coming to NASCAR means that a seat previously open to other NASCAR prospects may be filled. It also opens up the question about the charter market. If a team like Trackhouse wants to run SVG in NASCAR, then they need to buy a third charter.

The charter market is one of the most difficult things to predict. However, there is a race team that recently made a big move who could be putting a charter on the block.

Justin Haley Jumps from Kaulig Racing to Rick Ware Racing

On July 20, Rick Ware Racing announced that Justin Haley would be joining the team on a multi-year deal for 2024. Over this past race weekend at Pocono, Haley shed some light on what went into the move.

Now, I mentioned charters in the previous section, so what does Justin Haley have to do with charters? Rick Ware Racing has not announced which car number that he will drive next year. Could they potentially be looking at selling a charter?

Haley is the only full-time driver employed by the team for next year, and the team does not have a full-time driver this year. There is also the issue of Rick Ware Racing cars being towards the bottom of owner points, and the 15 charter has finished in the bottom three in owners points each of the past two seasons. They probably want to avoid a situation of their charter being revoked by NASCAR, which NASCAR can do if a team finishes in the bottom three in owner points three years in a row.

If anyone is going to sell a charter, Rick Ware Racing is the one to watch. There may be merit to spending some time putting all of their resources in Justin Haley for a while. If that is the case, watch for Rick Ware Racing to sell a charter to a team who wants one.

Spire Motorsports and Andretti Autosport

Spire Motorsports is a team that is slowly growing in NASCAR, and the rumors about them and Andretti Autosport continue to fly. They could throw a whole wrench into NASCAR silly season if something ends up happening.

That second Spire Motorsports car driven by Ty Dillon has not performed as well as Corey LaJoie. With Dillon’s contract expiring at the end of the season, it seems like there is no guarantee for Dillon to come back. If Andretti comes in, then that could add Spire to the charter buying market.

Andretti could also add some extra funding that could make Spire able to buy that extra charter. What was once a team that looked to be relatively quiet during Silly Season is now a team that could make the biggest splash.

NASCAR silly season still has a lot to play out, and the one constant is constant change. Moves such as Justin Haley moving to Rick Ware Racing were completely unexpected, so this article may not be the last of its’ kind.

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Joshua Lipowski

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