What’s Happening?

As the 2024 NASCAR season approaches, a few drivers are under a lot of pressure for various reasons. Which drivers are under the most pressure to perform heading into the 2024 season?

  • Every NASCAR driver is under pressure to perform, but, some are under pressure for different reasons. Some drivers are under pressure because they are driving for their jobs. Other drivers are under pressure because they have something to prove.
  • For this list, we will focus on full-time drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series. Driver on this list could be under pressure for any of the reasons listed above.
  • Fans are always speculating about the future of different drivers. Sometimes the fans are the ones who put the pressure on drivers to perform.

Harrison Burton

Harrison Burton seems to be on the hot seat in 2024. He had a difficult rookie season, and he followed that up by slightly regressing in 2023. He is sticking with The Wood Brothers for 2024, but, how much longer does he have?

If he fails to show any meaningful improvement, it’s possible The Wood Brothers could move off of him. He simply needs to perform better, and, if he does not, his future may be murky.

Austin Cindric

Austin Cindric struggled in his second season at Team Penske. He failed to make the Playoffs with only 5 top-10s and 1 top-5. He may not be in as desperate a position as Burton, but, Cindric still is under pressure.

Team Penske has won the last two Cup Series Driver’s Championships. If Cindric is failing to win races or make the Playoffs, that’s simply not good enough at Team Penske. He’s under pressure, but, maybe not as immense as Burton.

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin is not in danger of losing his job, but, he is still under pressure. He has one last thing to accomplish to complete his Cup Series career, a Championship. As the Playoffs approach, the pressure will continue to mount on Hamlin.

He will have to face all of the late-season failures of the years past. Can he finally perform when it counts the most in 2024?

Carson Hocevar

Again, Hocevar will not be driving for his job in 2024, but, he still has a lot to prove. He earned his Cup Seris ride in 2024 based on solid performance in 2023, but, he ruffled some feathers while doing so. He has a reputation heading into the Cup Series, and it is not all good.

He needs to prove he can race cleanly in 2024. He has done it, but, can he do it when the pressure is on and emotions are high? Add to that, being a rookie puts pressure on a driver from the get-go.

Ryan Preece

Ryan Preece returns to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024, but, nothing is guaranteed beyond that. He had only two top-10s, which is tied for the fewest in his Cup Series career. A lot of that is down to SHR having a down year, but, that doesn’t mean Preece isn’t under pressure.

He needs to start performing, or, SHR may move on. Changes are going to continue at the team until they get back to where they once were. Is Preece a part of that future?

Daniel Suarez

Daniel Suarez begins a multi-year deal with Trackhouse in 2024, but, Trackhouse is getting crowded. Zane Smith joins the team, but he will race at Spire Motorsports as a part of a technical alliance. SVG will race for Kaulig in the Xfinity Series, but, he is also a Trackouse development process.

With how crowded Trackhouse is, what is Saurez’s status with the team? While teammate Ross Chastain won two races in 2023, Suarez failed to win a race or make the Playoffs. He’s not on the hot seat yet, but, he may be in the near future.

Austin Dillon

Two years in a row, Austin Dillon has been outperformed by teammates. Kyle Busch won three races in 2023, and Dillon failed to win a race or make the Playoffs. In 2022, Tyler Reddick won three races, and Dillon barely made the Playoffs thanks to narrowly avoiding a crash during a rainstorm at Daytona.

Jesse Love is in the Xfinity Series with RCR now as well, so, that puts more pressure on Dillon. Could his future with RCR be in the offices instead of the driver’s seat? It may not be a 2025 move, but, if he continues to struggle, it could become a story.

Which driver is under the most pressure heading into 2024? There are plenty who are under a lot of pressure.