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Which NASCAR Cup Drivers Will Be Free Agents Next?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

As the 2024 NASCAR season rolls on, the focus will soon turn towards NASCAR Silly Season, and one of the major components of that is driver contracts. This article will serve as a one-stop shop for every driver’s contract status. Which ones are on the hot seat?

  • This list will focus on full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers and race teams. Part-time in any capacity will not be included in this list.
  • Not every team releases information on contracts, but, we can estimate where drivers are in their contracts based on other factors. That includes comments from team owners and drivers themselves and the language of press releases.

Hendrick Motorsports

Kyle Larson: Contract expires at the End of 2026

William Byron: Contract expires at the End of 2025

Chase Elliott: Contract expires at the End of 2027

Alex Bowman: Contract expires at the End of 2026

Breakdown: Rick Hendrick is very loyal to his drivers, and he’s not afraid to dig into his pocket for funding if need be. It’s rare that he just cuts drivers loose, and each of the drivers on this list has performed well in recent years with some loyal sponsors. Given the recent history of Hendrick as an owner and the performance of these four drivers, it’s not impossible to think that these drivers could stay well beyond the end of their contract. Then again, a lot can change.

Team Penske

Joey Logano: Signed a “Long term” extension in 2022 (Earliest Release 2025?)

Ryan Blaney: Signed a “Long term” extension in 2022 (Earliest Release 2025?)

Austin Cindric: Signed a Contract Extension in 2023 (Earliest Release 2024 ?)

Breakdown: Both Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney signed extensions following the 2022 season, but the terms were never released. Technically, these drivers could be done as early as 2025 or 2026. They both are consistent race-win threats and Playoff contenders, but, Logano, in particular, has struggled to start off 2023. Still, these drivers are responsible for the last 3 Team Penske Cup Series Championships, so, they should stay for the foreseeable future

Austin Cindric’s contract status is even more murky. He told the media in the fall of 2023 that he signed a contract extension towards the beginning of that season. The exact length of the extension is unknown, so, Cindric could technically be a free agent as early as 2024. However, we don’t know for sure.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Denny Hamlin: Signed Multiyear Extension in 2023 (Earliest Release 2025?)

Christopher Bell: Signed a “Long Term” extension in 2022 (Earliest Release 2024?)

Ty Gibbs: Unknown

Martin Truex Jr: Contract Expires at the end of 2024

Breakdown: Denny Hamlin signed a multiyear extension at the end of 2023 to stay at Joe Gibbs Racing. That keeps him at JGR through at least 2025, but, recent comments to Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal suggest Hamlin may have an eye on racing for 23XI Racing in the future. Martin Truex Jr. signed a one-year deal for 2024, and the question is whether or not he retires.

Christopher Bell signed a contract extension in late 2022, and his contract could be up at any point. However, he has made 2 consecutive Championship 4s, so it is conceivable that he could be with the team for a while. Ty Gibbs is still young and the boss’ grandson, so, he’s good for the time being unless things go horrifically south.

23XI Racing

Bubba Wallace: Signed a multi-year extension in 2022 (Earliest Release 2025?)

Tyler Reddick: Unknown

Breakdown: Bubba Wallace signed a “multi-year” extension in 2022 on a contract that was previously expiring after 2023. Therefore, he is likely not going to hit the open market until 2025 at the earliest, but it could be even longer if he improves on his performance from 2023.

Tyler Reddick is an interesting contract case, as 2023 was supposed to be his last year at Richard Childress Racing. The contract was reworked, and 23XI got him for 2023, so Reddick could likely be with the team for about 2-3 years at least. Likely, Reddick will not hit the open market until 2025, but the exact terms of his contract were not released.

Trackhouse Racing

Ross Chastain: Signed an extension at the start of 2023 (Earliest Release 2025?

Daniel Suarez: “Contract Year” according to team owner Justin Marks.

Breakdown: Ross Chastain signed a contract extension before the 2023 season, and his performance suggests that he will be with the team for the foreseeable future. Daniel Suarez is in a contract year, as team owner Justin Marks points out at Atlanta, but, that win at Atlanta should help Suarez significantly.

Front Row Motorsports

Michael McDowell: Signed Through 2024

Todd Gilliland: Signed Through 2024

Breakdown: Front Row Motorsports is an interesting team in that they normally only give out one-year contracts. Therefore, Gilliland and McDowell are seemingly signed only through 2024. McDowell’s seat seems safe for a while, but, Gilliland may be one to watch if performance dips.

Legacy Motor Club

Erik Jones: Signed Extension in 2022 (Earliest Release 2024?)

John Hunter Nemechek: First Season with the team

Breakdown: Legacy Motor Club is also quite murky with its’ contract situation. Erik Jones’ multiyear extension is up as early as 2024, but, this is the driver that won the Southern 500 for the team in 2023. John Hunter Nemechek is in his first year with the team, and, it’s unclear whether it’s a multi-year or a one-year contract. Either way, this is a team to watch.

RFK Racing

Brad Keselowski: Team Owner

Chris Buescher: Contract Expires After 2024

Breakdown: Brad Keselowski owns RFK Racing, so, he can race there as long as he wants to. Chris Buescher signed a contract extension back in 2021 that expires at the end of this season. Given his performance in 2023, it’s hard to believe he won’t be back at RFK Racing in 2025, but, stranger things have happened.

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ryan Preece: Signed Through 2024..Beyond?

Chase Briscoe: Signed a Multiyear Extension at the beginning of 2023 (Expires in 2024 or 2025?)

Noah Gragson: Signed a Multiyear Contract in 2024

Josh Berry: Unknown, Signed for the 2024 season

Breakdown: The only driver who we know is racing for SHR in 2025 is Noah Gragson, as he has a multiyear contract that started in 2024. The other three are mysteries.

Chase Briscoe signed a multiyear extension before the 2023 season started, so, he’s seemingly safe. Ryan Preece was a question mark throughout most of 2023 before announcing he would return for 2024, but, no mention was made that it was a multiyear deal. Josh Berry signed for 2024, but, the length of the contract was never disclosed. Given that he is a rookie, it’s tough to imagine that SHR cuts Berry loose after one season.

Spire Motorsports

Corey LaJoie: Signed a Multiyear Extension at the end of 2023 (Earliest Release in 2025 or 2026?)

Carson Hocevar: Signed a Multiyear Contract In 2024

Zane Smith: Under “Long-Term” Contract with Trackhouse

Breakdown: Both Corey LaJoie and Carson Hocevar will remain at Spire for the foreseeable future. LaJoie was Spire’s first anchor driver, and Hocevar is their first true developmental prospect.

Zane Smith may leave the team at the end of the year, but, he’s still under contract with Trackhouse. As a result, any open Trackhouse seat may have Smith’s name on it. He’s essentially at Spire on loan from Trackhouse.

JTG Daugherty Racing

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: Signed Multiyear Extenson in 2022 (Expires in 2024?)

Breakdown: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the 2023 Daytona 500 for JTG Daugherty Racing. That alone should give him some runway with them as long as sponsorship lines up. Then again, you never really know with these small teams. Sometimes a better opportunity comes along for the driver, or another prospect comes along for the race team.

Kaulig Racing

Daniel Hemric: Signed for 2024…Beyond?

Breakdown: It seems very likely that Daniel Hemric is on a one-year deal with Kaulig Racing. Allmendinger left the Cup Series after one year with the team, and Hemric signed a one-year contract to join the Xfinity program in 2022. We don’t know for sure, but, given Kaulig’s history, Hemric doesn’t appear to be a long-term lock at the moment.

Rick Ware Racing

Justin Haley: Signed Multiyear Contract for 2024 and Beyond (Earliest Release 2025 or 2026?)

Breakdown: Justin Haley will be at Rick Ware Racing for the foreseeable future. It’s the first time RWR has made this big of a commitment to a driver, and it will be interesting to see how this investment shakes out.

The Wood Brothers

Harrison Burton: Signed for 2024…Beyond?

Breakdown: The numbers are undeniable, Harrison Burton has to prove himself in 2024. He is back with The Wood Brothers, but, no mention was made of a multiyear contract. He’s not even come close to winning a race or making the Playoffs in each of his first two seasons, so, it seems 2024 may be his last chance.

One thing is for sure, the best drivers are being locked up long term by owners. It will be likely another year or two before we see big names return to NASCAR Free agency, but, with terms not officially released in most cases, we do not exactly know.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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