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The Most Disappointing Drivers of 2024 So Far

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

We are now in the second half of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, and some drivers have enjoyed better years than others. Today, we focus on those who have been the most disappointing this season.

  • A driver must have had reasonably high expectations for the season to be on this list. If a driver is struggling but was expected to struggle when the season started, they will not be included.
  • Some drivers on this list have better possibilities than others of turning around their season. Just because a driver is on this list does not mean their season will be a disappointment.
  • Fans focus on drivers who struggle, sometimes more than those who do well. Which ones are dealing with the biggest struggles of 2024 so far?

Legacy Motor Club: Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek

DriversWinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints Position Points Out of Playoffs
Erik Jones00121.9028th-217
John Hunter Nemechek00323.42027th-217

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Legacy Motor Club made many big moves in the off-season, moving from Chevy to becoming a “Tier One” Toyota team and signing John Hunter Nemechek. Unfortunately, this has translated to both drivers being more than 200 points out of the Playoffs with only seven races left in the Regular Season. This includes Erik Jones missing two races after a crash at Talladega.

While it was expected that moving to Toyota would cause some growing pains, LMC lags far behind 23XI and Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s been a disappointment team-wide.

Richard Childress Racing: Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch

DriversWinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints PositionPoints Out of Playoffs
Kyle Busch02519.313117th-104
Austin Dillon00225.5032nd-265

The end of 2022 and the first half of 2023 looked like a turning point for RCR, but the team has regressed in 2024. Both Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon are having some of the worst seasons they have had, either ever or since their rookie season. RCR will have more decisions as Andy Petree has retired from his post as Executive Vice President.

Busch and Dillon are signed through at least 2025, so RCR will run it back. However, some major changes and improvements are needed for either to succeed.

Spire Motorsports: Corey LaJoie and Zane Smith

DriversWinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints PositionPoints Out of Playoffs
Corey LaJoie01123.23829th-226
Zane Smith01126.7034th-299

Spire Motorsports, like Legacy Motor Club, was very active in the offseason, purchasing a charter, buying out Kyle Busch Motorsports, and signing Zane Smith alongside Carson Hocevar. While Hocevar has shown some promise, Smith and LaJoie have struggled immensely. The expectations for both were to compete for a Playoff spot and, hopefully, the occasional win, but that has not materialized consistently.

Smith and LaJoie showed some promise at Nashville, running in the top five late in the race thanks to strategy. While Smith, a Trackhouse development driver, is definitely gone after the season, LaJoie is in the first year of a multi-year contract. LaJoie needs to step it up.

Michael McDowell

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints PositionPoints Out of Playoffs
01521.615023rd-166

Michael McDowell and Front Row Motorsports have shown more pure speed this season, with three poles and a career-best average finish of 13.3. However, they haven’t put it all together on race day. Sometimes, it’s due to mechanical problems, but sometimes it’s due to mistakes and poor performance.

However, the potential is still there, and McDowell has some great opportunities to win in the regular season, with the Chicago Street Race and the summer Daytona race still looming. McDowell undoubtedly wants to leave Front Row on a high note as he prepares to go to Spire Motorsports in 2025.

Bubba Wallace

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints PositionPoints Out of Playoffs
03617.43515th-51

Bubb Wallace has improved every year in the NASCAR Cup Series and made it all the way to the Round of 12 last year. This year, he’s failed to win a race and hasn’t won one since the fall of 2022. He now sits nearly a full race outside the Playoffs, with only seven races left in the regular season.

While Wallace hasn’t had an awful year, and his ride is not in jeopardy, his expectations for 2024 were higher than this. He has the equipment and the talent to get a win before the regular season is out, but he is running short on time.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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