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NASCAR Silly Season On Hold? Here’s Why

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What’s Happening?

NASCAR Silly Season got a major jolt in late May when Stewart-Haas Racing announced that they would be shutting down at the end of the season, but could that be the last big news of Silly Season for a while? Recent comments by those in the industry suggest the lack of a charter agreement could hold major moves back for a while. Why is that the case, and when will it finally be resolved?

  • At least two team owners have discussed how the charter agreement impacts their future moves. The lack of movement in the charter market results in teams waiting to make major Silly Season moves.
  • However, this has not stopped some teams not in the charter market from making moves. Are there some moves we can see sooner rather than later?
  • Fans are waiting intently to see where everything breaks down during NASCAR Silly Season. However, the waiting period might be just a little bit longer.

What Drivers and Teams Had to Say

When SHR originally announced they would shut down, Bob Pockrass immediately reported that 23XI Racing, Front Row Motorsports, and Trackhouse would obtain charters. Over a week later, we still haven’t seen any of these teams officially announce acquiring an SHR charter. 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin responded specifically to this question in a recent episode of “Actions Detrimental.”

23XI is interested in getting a charter deal done. On January 1st, 2025, we don’t even have a charter. You can’t buy or sell somethign that doesn’t exist in our eyes…I didn’t buy that facility to stay a two-car team, but, it always has to make financial sense.

Denny Hamlin

In short, yes, Hamlin wants to expand 23XI at some point, which would necessitate purchasing a third charter, but he sees no value in discussing the topic without a charter deal in place. The reason is that once the charter deal runs out at the end of the year, if there’s no agreement in place, NASCAR can take away charters.

He’s not the only one to allude to the importance of the charter agreement, either. Chris Rice, Team President of Kaulig Racing, spoke to Sirius XM NASCAR Radio about his organization’s future. After discussing that Kaulig has something up its sleeve, he reiterated that the charter agreement must come first.

We donā€™t have a charter agreement done right now, so, letā€™s focus on that, and then we can focus on where Kaulig Racingā€™s going.

Chris Rice

Front Row Motorsports is the only race team of the three mentioned to purchase one of SHR’s charters and make any move since SHR shut down. FRM announced that they intend to field a third car in 2025. However, what they didn’t say speaks more volumes than what they did say.

Even though seemingly everyone assumes they are purchasing an SHR charter, FRM did not mention the word charter once in their announcement. Since then, there has been no official mention of FRM purchasing a charter from SHR.

Trackhouse Racing, the other team reportedly interested in purchasing a charter, has remained radio silent. Their latest update is Daniel Suarez telling Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic that a contract extension is “Moving in the right direction.” Bianchi reported Suarez and Trackhouse are “Finalizing an extension.”

This has nothing to do with charters in themselves, but it does likely mean that no new drivers can join Trackhouse without an official charter purchase.

How close is NASCAR to a charter agreement with the teams? Well, they submitted another proposal to the teams last week, but both Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski suggested to the media at Gateway that there is still a while to go. Hamlin even gave an approximate timeline, saying, “A few months, maybe.”

How Does This Effect Silly Season?

Now, the charter situation hasn’t stopped Silly Season from getting underway. Both Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell announced their moves for 2025, and SHR announced they were shutting down.

However, a few of the rest of the driver/team movement depends on how the charter market works itself out. As we mentioned, Trackhouse probably can’t bring in another full-time Cup driver without a charter, nor can 23XI. Front Row Motorsports could since they have an open seat with a current charter attached, but their second open seat still doesn’t officially have a charter.

There could be a change at The Wood Brothers, but nothing has been officially announced about Harrison Burton’s future. Maybe Rick Ware Racing with the second car currently being an “All-Star Car”, but there’s no guarantee there.

There is the potential movement at JGR with Martin Truex Jr. potentially retiring, but last year, he drew that decision out until late summer. There’s no guarantee he’ll retire at the end of 2024 anyway.

The recent report from Bob Pockrass suggests that a slough of drivers could be candidates for that ride. Are prospective free agents willing to wait to see if a top-tier ride at JGR is available? If so, that could hold things up even further.

Many Silly Season moves hinge on the charter agreement, which has no timetable. Others could hinge on Martin Truex Jr.’s retirement decision, which also has no timetable. All of this combines to create a potentially long waiting period.

It’s certainly possible that things will fall into place suddenly, and major breaking news will emerge on these topics. At the end of the day, the timeline is uncertain.

Stay tuned right here to the Daily Downforce for more on this and everything else going on in the NASCAR world.

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