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Which Drivers Could Have the WORST Season in 2024?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

While the focus of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season will be on the top drivers in the series, someone has to fill out the bottom of the points standings page. It’s the place that no one wants to be, but someone has to end up there. Today, we look at the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series drivers who could have the worst seasons in 2024.

  • For this list, we will focus on the full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Part-time drivers are ineligible for this list even if they race for a chartered when they do compete.
  • We will take multiple factors into account when making this list including the equipment the driver has, past success, and experience level. There are a myriad of reasons why drivers may find themselves at the bottom of the points standings, and, with the Cup Series being as competitive as it is, some surprising names could end up there.
  • Fans love to debate who the worst drivers are just as much as they love to debate who the best drivers are. This list focuses on the worst.

Harrison Burton

Only one driver who competed in all 36 races finished below Harrison Burton in the points standings in 2023, and that was Ty Dillon, who is now out of the Cup Series. Oh, by the way, Burton had no major penalties to decrease that point total. He earned that spot purely based on merit, or, lack thereof.

Now Burton does have a relatively new crew chief in Jeremy Bullins, who has 9 career wins between Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Austin Cindric. That match could be a good one, but, it only produced 1 top-15 and 3 top-20s in the final 10 races. Frankly, things are not looking well for Burton, and this may be his last chance to prove himself at the Cup Series level.

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Justin Haley

Justin Haley made one of the most curious moves of the 2023 Silly Season by signing with Rick Ware Racing. Yes, THAT Rick Ware Racing, who has never finished higher than 33rd in Owner’s Points. This could either be a genius “Buy low sell high” move, or it could implode Justin Haley’s career.

Given RWR’s pedigree in NASCAR, there’s reasonable doubt that Haley will change much with the team. Then again, RWR did show some interesting promise by convincing drivers like Ryan Newman and Jenson Button to race in 2023. However, it never translated to true results on the track.

Carson Hocevar

This is a classic example of a driver who may struggle as a young gun, but, it’s not indicative of how good they can be. Carson Hocevar is immensely talented, but he is also young and very raw. He joins the Spire Motorsports #77 car, which finished 33rd in Owner’s Points with Ty Dillon.

This is a building race team, and Hocevar is not expected to win races and Championships right away. It is very possible, however, that things could turn very sour for Hocevar and he could be near or at the bottom of the points standings.

Zane Smith

Zane Smith joins a brand new third race team at Spire Motorsports in the #71 car thanks to an alliance from Trackhouse. Smith is technically under contract with Trackhouse, so, his deal is a bit confusing. While Hocevar is joining a team that struggled in 2023, Smith is joining a new team with no idea how they will perform.

That uncertainty is enough to land Smith on this list, regardless of his talent. Being a rookie on a brand-new race team is difficult, and that’s why this season can go south for him. Much like Hocevar, however, Smith is immensely talented, and how he performs this year may not be a perfect reflection of how good he can be.

Ryan Preece

Ryan Preece returns to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024, who had their worst season in 2023 since Tony Stewart bought the team in 2009. Preece struggled in 2023 as well with only 2 top-10 finishes. While Preece did finish 23rd in the points standings, some concerns about SHR mean he could crater in 2024.

SHR has to wrap its arms around the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse, which could help or hurt SHR. SHR also brings back mainly the same cast of characters aside from driver changes with Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick retiring. With little change this off-season, this could be a long season for Preece and all of SHR.

Which of these drivers could end up being at the bottom of the points standings in 2024? Did we miss anyone on this list?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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