What’s Happening?

As the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season approaches, it’s time to prognosticate how all of the biggest silly season moves will pan out. This list will focus on some of the more disappointing or underwhelming news of NASCAR Silly Season.

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  • This list will include all three NASCAR National Touring Series, and it will not just be limited to drivers switching teams. It will include any move that affected where drivers could end up throughout Silly Season.
  • Just because a move is disappointing does not mean the move was bad or will not work out. Maybe it was the end of an era for a driver that did not meet expectations, or maybe a team or driver gave up a bit too soon. Oftentimes, race teams and drivers have to make tough decisions that involve disappointing many.
  • Fans always have an opinion on Silly Season moves. These are some moves that many fans were disappointed to see.

GMS Racing Shuts Down

It’s always sad when an entire NASCAR team shuts down. Drivers, crew members, shop members, and everyone employed by the team lost their jobs, and fewer cars will be on the grid as a result. GMS Racing closed their doors, but it made some sense why they decided to do so.

Team owner Maury Gallagher now co-owns the Legacy Motor Club NASCAR Cup Series team alongside Jimmie Johnson. This move allows Gallagher to focus his resources on LMC, and it’s possible he brought a few employees over from GMS.

Regardless, it’s disappointing to see drivers like Rajah Caruth, Grant Enfinger, and Daniel Dye lose their rides. Thankfully, both Enfinger and Dye have plans announced for 2024, and, according to our sources, Caruth to Spire Motorsports is a “Done deal”. Things all worked out in the end.

Kaulig Racing’s Cup Series Lineup

Many fans have made jokes about Kaulig Racing’s Xfinity Series lineup versus their Cup Series lineup. While their full-time Xfinity Series lineup has exciting drivers including Josh Williams, A.J. Allmendinger, and SVG, their Cup Series lineup includes Daniel Hemric and an All-Star Car.

Kaulig won a Cup Series race last year with A.J. Allmendinger at the Charlotte Roval, and they are demoting that driver to the Xfinity Series full-time with a part-time Cup Series schedule. They also let go of Justin Haley, who is still young and has been loyal to Kaulig for years. They did this in favor of Daniel Hemric, who has won one NASCAR race across all three levels.

It’s hard to imagine this as anything more than a lateral move, and, at worst, a downgrade. Still, Hemric has Cup Series experience, so, this move may ultimately work out.

Matt DiBenedetto Out at Rackley W.A.R.

Matt DiBenedetto and Rackley W.A.R. started the season as a feel-good story. DiBenedetto took the team to their first win at Talladega in 2022, and he took the team to the Playoffs in 2023. However, this fairy tale turned sour fast.

It started in late August when DiBenedetto announced he was leaving the team at season’s end. After he was eliminated from the Playoffs, Rackley W.A.R. cut him loose with three races left in the season. It was not DiBenedetto’s first ugly exit from a race team.

Now, both parties have moved on. Rackley W.A.R. signed Ty Dillon for the 2024 season, which was a welcome surprise to many fans. DiBenedetto tweeted out a “Pen” emoji around the new year, so, he likely has a ride somewhere. However, that ride has not been announced yet.

Kevin Harvick Retiring

One of the greatest NASCAR drivers of the new millennium, Kevin Harvick, retired from driving after the 2023 season. This was not a major surprise, and the timing made sense given his age and recent performance. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing for his fans.

Many NASCAR fans do not know a NASCAR without Kevin Harvick in it, but, he won’t be off the NASCAR grid. He is the newest member of the NASCAR on Fox booth alongside Clint Bowyer and Mike Joy. This was a welcome change for NASCAR fans.

Josh Berry will take over for Harvick in the #4 car. Many fans are excited about this move, but, others are skeptical. While things ultimately worked out for the better, seeing Kevin Harvick retire will be an adjustment for many fans.

Zane Smith Left out at Front Row Motorsports

This was a difficult and disappointing, but ultimately necessary decision for all parties involved. Front Row Motorsports only has two cars. Michael McDowell won a race in 2023, and Todd Gilliland showed flashes of brilliance. While Zane Smith won a Truck Series Championship for the team, someone had to get left out.

This move could either haunt FRM or make them look like geniuses. It was a tough decision, and someone was going to get left out either way. If Smith flourishes and Gilliland flounders, this could be a bad decision for FRM.

Smith moved on to sign with Trackhouse. He will race for Spire Motorsports on loan from Trackhouse in 2024, which makes him one of the most interesting drivers of the season. This move could work out for all parties involved, but, it’s disappointing that Smith and FRM could not stay together.

While many of these moves were necessary, they were all disappointing for one reason or another. However, any one of these moves can work out.

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