What’s Happening?

As we anticipate the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, the full-time lineup of drivers competing for the Driver’s Championship seems pretty well set. As of today, 34 drivers will be fighting for the Bill France Cup in 2024, and here are all of them.

  • The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is the 76th edition of NASCAR’s top series. The Series started in 1949, one year after NASCAR was introduced.
  • This list will focus on the 2024 full-time drivers instead of race teams. There are two chartered teams without a full-time driver, and this article will be updated if any unexpected changes happen.
  • Fans are excitedly anticipating the 2024 NASCAR season. The season is less than three weeks away now, and they are starting to form predictions for 2024.

#1: Ross Chastain (Trackhouse)

2023 Stats: 2 Wins; 10 Top-5s; 14 Top-10s; 9th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Ross Chastain returns for this third season at Trackhouse in 2024. He narrowly missed out on a Championship in 2022, and winning the season finale in 2023 gives him and Trackhouse reason for optimism. He may not be the odds-on favorite for a Championship, but, he could be up there.

#2: Austin Cindric (Team Penske)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5s; 5 Top-10s; 24th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Austin Cindric struggled massively in 2023, and he dropped to 24th place in the points standings. This came on the heels of a 12th-place finish in 2022 after winning the Daytona 500. His hope is that the 2023 season was just the simple “Sophomore Slump”.

#3 Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5s; 7 Top-10s; 29th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: 2023 was Austin Dillon’s worst statistical season. He had his worst career average start, average finish, and point position at the end of the season. He looks to turn the page to 2024, but, with Jesse Love now in the RCR system, could the clock be ticking on Dillon’s time with the team?

#4: Josh Berry (Stewart-Haas Racing)

2023 Stats (Hendrick and Legacy Motor Club): 0 Wins; 1 Top-5; 3 Top-10; 10 Starts

Breakdown: Josh Berry replaces future NASCAR Hall of Famer Kevin Harvick in the 4 car. Berry showed flashes in 10 substitute starts in the Cup Series, but, he went winless in the Xfinity Series while running full-time. With how difficult of a year SHR had in 2023, Berry could be in for some growing paint.

#5: Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 4 Wins; 15 Top-5s; 18 Top-10s; 2nd Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Kyle Larson came oh so close to his second Cup Series Championship in 2023. He finished just behind Ryan Blaney at Phoenix after overcoming 8 DNFs during the season. Larson should be a factor in 2024 once again.

#6: Brad Keselowski (RFK Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 7 Top-5s; 16 Top-10s; 8th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Brad Keselowski and RFK Racing had a resurgence in 2023. Despite this, Keselowski failed to win a race, which should be on the the top of his “To Do” list in 2024. His teammate won three races, so, this could be his chance.

#7: Corey LaJoie (Spire Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 2 Top-5s; 3 Top-10s; 25th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Corey LaJoie had his best career season in 2023, and Spire Motorsports is a revamped race team. The question is, can LaJoie and the team turn these new resources into results on the track? LaJoie has two exciting rookie teammates as well, so he has to prove he can continue to be a number 1 driver.

#8: Kyle Busch (Richard Childress Racing)

2023 Stats: 3 Wins; 10 Top-5s; 17 Top-10s; 14th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Kyle Busch’s 2023 season was a tale of two halves. He won three of the first 15 races, but, he floundered in the second half to finish a disappointing 14th in the points standings. This was Busch’s worst points finish since his rookie season in 2005, so, he has some catching up to do.

#9: Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 7 Top-5s; 15 Top-10s; 17th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Chase Elliott had a rocky 2023 after missing 6 races due to an injury and 1 due to suspension. He failed to win a race for the first time since 2017, and he missed the Playoffs for the first time in his career. He seemed primed for a bounceback, and he has a good chance to do so.

#10: Noah Gragson (Stewart-Haas Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 0 Top-10s; 21 starts

Breakdown: From a bad performance to a season cut short by a suspension, Noah Gragson had a rough 2023. However, he resurfaced in 2024 with Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Aric Almirola. Like Berry, there may be some growing pains given how much SHR struggled in 2023.

#11: Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing)

2023 Stats: 3 Wins; 14 Top-5s; 19 Top-10s; 5th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Once again, Denny Hamlin failed to win a Championship in 2023. He is on the wrong side of 40, so the clock is ticking on Hamlin. He is more than capable of winning races, but can he put it together when it matters most?

#12: Ryan Blaney (Team Penske)

2023 Stats: 3 Wins; 8 Top-5s; 18 Top-10s; 1st Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Ryan Blaney surprised everyone by winning the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in 2023. A clutch Playoff performance gave Blaney the big prize, and he is looking to defend it in 2024. While he was great in the post-season in 2023, can he keep that going through the regular season in 2024?

#14: Chase Briscoe (Stewart-Haas Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 4 Top-5s; 8 Top-10s; 30th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Chase Briscoe regressed in 2023 from nearly making the Round of 8 to winless. This was a byproduct of SHR’s overall struggles. Now, with Harvick gone, can he become the top driver on the team?

#17: Chris Buescher (RFK Racing)

2023 Stats: 3 Wins; 9 Top-5s; 17 Top-10s; 7th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Chris Buescher had his best season yet in 2023 as he won three races and made the Round of 8. The question is, can he and RFK take the next step in 2024? When he got into the Round of 8 last season, he got swallowed up by the bigger teams, so, there is still room to improve.

#19: Martin Truex Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing)

2023 Stats: 3 Wins; 9 Top-5s; 17 Top-10s; 11th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Martin Truex Jr. went from Regular Season Champion to irrelevant in the Playoffs. He also enters 2024 without a guarantee for 2025. He flirted with retirement in 2023, so, will he fully retire following 2024?

#20: Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing)

2023 Stats: 2 Wins; 10 Top-5s; 16 Top-10s; 4th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Christopher Bell made the Championship 4 for the second year in a row in 2023, but a brake rotor failure ended his Championship run. For Bell, 2024 is all about putting his best foot forward in that final race. He can get there, but, can he finish the job?

#21: Harrison Burton (The Wood Brothers)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 2 Top-10s; 31st Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Harrison Burton returns to The Wood Brothers for 2024, but, he may be on the hot seat. He did not show much improvement in 2023, and, if he fails to show it in 2024, he may be out of a ride. This is a big year for Burton.

#22: Joey Logano (Team Penske)

2023 Stats: 1 Wins; 11 Top-5s; 17 Top-10s; 12th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Joey Logano went from the 2022 Champion to out in the Round of 16 in 2023. His lone win came early in the season at Atlanta, but, he could not get back there the rest of the way. If he fails to win early in 2024, a Logano losing streak could be a storyline.

#23: Bubba Wallace (23XI Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 5 Top-5s; 10 Top-10s; 10th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Bubba Wallace finally broke through and made the Playoffs in 2023. Not only that, but he exceeded expectations by making the Round of 12. Can he improve on that in 2024 and make it into the Round of 8 or even the Championship 4?

#24: William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 6 Wins; 15 Top-5s; 21 Top-10s; 3rd Place Point Finish

Breakdown: William Byron had arguably the best statistical season of any driver in 2023, but it was not enough to win the Championship. However, 2023 proved that Byron could consistently compete for wins, something he showed flashes of up until 2023. Can he take that final step in 2024 to become a Champion?

#31: Daniel Hemric (Kaulig Racing)

2023 Stats (Xfinity): 0 Wins; 6 Top-5s; 18 Top-10s; 8th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Daniel Hemric returns to the Cup Series full-time for the first time since 2019. He joins Kaulig Racing, who won one race in 2023, but, Hemric has won only one race across all three National Touring Series. This move was met with skepticism by many, but, can he prove the doubters wrong?

#34: Michael McDowell (Front Row Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 1 Wins; 2 Top-5s; 8 Top-10s; 15th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Michael McDowell made the Playoffs for the second time in three seasons after winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He is back with Front Row in 2024, and the team has reasons for optimism. Can McDowell back up his terrific 2023 campaign?

#38: Todd Gilliland (Front Row Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 4 Top-10s; 28th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Todd Gilliland showed some improvement in 2023, and FRM rewarded him by bringing him back full-time for 2024. In 2023, he made a few starts for Rick Ware Racing to complete the full schedule. Can he turn the corner in 2024 now that he is a full-time driver at FRM?

#41: Ryan Preece (Stewart-Haas Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5s; 2 Top-10s; 23rd Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Ryan Preece was the second-highest-finishing SHR driver in the points standings in 2023, but he finished 23rd. Again, SHR struggled in 2023, so, that is at least partially to blame for Preece’s tough season. However, if he continues to struggle, changes could be made.

#42: John Hunter Nemechek (Legacy Motor Club)

2023 Stats (Xfinity): 7 Wins; 17 Top-5s; 24 Top-10s; 4th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: John Hunter Nemechek has finished his career rebuild. He jumped from the Cup Series down to Trucks in 2021, and he slowly worked his way back up to Cup for the 2024 season. He joins a Legacy Motor Club team with plenty of positive energy heading into 2024 thanks to the new Toyota partnership and plenty of new sponsors.

#43: Erik Jones (Legacy Motor Club)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5s; 7 Top-10s; 27th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Erik Jones and LMC struggled in 2023, but, 2024 is a new year. This is not the same team as it was in 2023, and Jones has proven he can win in this equipment. He could be a driver to watch as a potential Playoff dark horse. If anyone can be the “Chris Buescher” of 2024, Jones may be it.

#45: Tyler Reddick (23XI Racing)

2023 Stats: 2 Wins; 10 Top-5s; 16 Top-10s; 6th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Tyler Reddick had a successful first season with 23XI Racing. He won two races, and he took the 45 car to the Round of 8 in the team’s first Driver’s Playoffs appearance. Like his teammate, Bubba Wallace, it’s all about whether or not Reddick can take that next step to being a Championship contender.

#47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr (JTG Daugherty Racing)

2023 Stats: 1 Wins; 2 Top-5s; 9 Top-10s; 16th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Anytime a driver wins the Daytona 500, it’s a successful season. Such was the case with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as a Daytona 500 win put him at JTG Daugherty in the Playoffs. Stenhouse Jr. also tied a career-high in top-10s, but, can he take the Daytona 500 momentum into 2024?

#48: Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 4 Top-5s; 10 Top-10s; 20th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Alex Bowman had a rough 2023 after a back injury derailed his season. He went from the points lead to being out of the Playoffs entirely, and, to cap it all off, he went winless. This is the second season in a row that injuries hampered his availability, so, his goal for 2024 is to stay healthy.

#51: Justin Haley (Rick Ware Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 1 Top-5s; 6 Top-10s; 26th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Justin Haley moved from Kaulig Racing to Rick Ware Racing for 2024. This was perhaps the biggest surprise of NASCAR Silly Season, but, has RWR improved enough to give Haley competitive cars in 2024? Time will tell, but their recent alliance with RFK is a reason for optimism.

#54: Ty Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 4 Top-5s; 10 Top-10s; 18th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Despite missing the Playoffs, Ty Gibbs impressed in 2023 with 10 top-10 finishes, and he generally kept his nose clean. The big question for 2024 is whether or not he can win a race. Now that he’s in his second season, it’s time to show he can win races in top equipment.

#71: Zane Smith (Spire Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 1 Top-10s; 8 Starts

Breakdown: The 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, Zane Smith is finally in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’s under contract with Trackhouse, but, he is at Spire on loan for 2024. Smith joins the brand new #71 race team, so, he may struggle some. However, the talent is there for this team to surprise.

#77: Carson Hocevar (Spire Motorsports)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 0 Top-5s; 0 Top-10s; 9 Starts

Breakdown: Despite not recording a top-10 finish in the Cup Series, Carson Hocevar showed his raw talent in 2023. However, he also had some incidents, particularly spinning out Truck Series Championship rival Corey Heim in the final laps at Phoenix. Hocevar is exciting, but he is very raw. He has a lot to prove in 2024.

#99: Daniel Suarez (Trackhouse)

2023 Stats: 0 Wins; 3 Top-5s; 10 Top-10s; 19th Place Point Finish

Breakdown: Daniel Suarez regressed in 2023 as he failed to win a race. He also consistently lagged behind teammate, Ross Chastain. With drivers like Shane Van Gisbergen and Zane Smith waiting in the wings, Suarez is under pressure to perform in 2024.

Which driver is primed to make a Championship run in 2024? Will it be someone new, or will someone repeat?

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