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Who’s Missing From the Current NASCAR Silly Season Conversation?

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What’s Happening?

NASCAR Silly Season is in full swing, from Stewart-Haas Racing shutting down to Martin Truex Jr. announcing his retirement! Many names, such as Chase Briscoe and Riley Herbst, have been linked to multiple rides, while drivers like Michael McDowell have secured their futures early during this grace period. But who’s missing from this discussion? There are plenty of names no one’s been talking about that can shake up this volatile NASCAR Silly Season. Let’s see who’s missing from the conversation.

  • We already know where some names will drive in 2025 and who’s stepping away after this season. McDowell will move from Front Row to Spire, FRM bought a third charter, and MTJ will hang it up at the end of the year.
  • Briscoe is headed to the 19. Herbst is rumored to take his services to 23XI in an expanded third charter, with Corey Heim in the mix as well. Noah Gragson has multiple suitors, but it seems Richard Childress Racing is looking to expand to a third car to nab the current driver of the 10.
  • However, there are still many names that fans are wondering about in terms of their futures. Drivers in Xfinity and Cup that should be in the discussion have been radio silent in terms of a future seat.

Sam Mayer

After winning this past weekend at Iowa Speedway, Sam Mayer expressed how frustrated he is that he’s not receiving Cup Series attention. Mayer is currently in his third full-time season in the Xfinity Series and has won six of the last 29 races, including a Championship 4 appearance just a year ago.

Fans would love to see Mayer move up to the Cup Series. So why hasn’t his name been thrown around the garage? There are a couple of reasons. First, he’s a Chevy driver at a time when there’s not many seats with a Bowtie in Cup. Trackhouse is rumored to acquire a third charter, but that’ll go to one of their own drivers (either Zane Smith or Shane van Gisbergen). If Mayer wants a seat, he’d have to jump to either Ford, with two open seats at Front Row, or Toyota, with the No. 19 car; however, Briscoe is the current favorite for that seat.

The second is inconsistency. While Mayer has six wins in less than a year, he also had seven DNFs in 2023 and four in 2024. Mayer also started the year slow, despite nabbing a photo-finish win in Texas. He also currently sits 151 points behind the points lead and has only nine lead-lap finishes this year with a 16.0 average finish. For Mayer, it seems to be checkers or wreckers, and he’ll need to clean that up before he makes the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series, whether in 2025 or 2026.

Josh Berry

Josh Berry is among many Stewart-Haas Racing employees looking for a home in 2025. While his teammates Briscoe and Gragson look to land rides next season, it’s been rather quiet for the rookie, who’s in the midst of a tight battle with Carson Hocevar for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Berry currently sits 21st in points, with three top-10s and an average finish of 20.7. While that seems mundane compared to his predecessor, those three top-10s have come in the last five races, meaning the 33-year-old is beginning to find his footing in the Cup Series. This should help his chances of finding a seat for the 2025 season.

Berry is a solid driver who’s improving every week. But with established names like Briscoe and Gragson on the market, along with young phenomen Corey Heim out there, Berry is finding his name quiet on the free agent market. The good news is that with two spots opened at Front Row, it has been theorized that he, along with Rodney Childers, could take one of those spots. The Ford connection is in his favor, and as his performance improves, expect to hear Berry’s name more during Silly Season.

Chandler Smith

It feels like Chandler has been in NASCAR for many years, but he’s only in his second full-time Xfinity Series season at just 21 years old. After a rocky rookie season, Smith sits second in points, just one shy of leader Cole Custer, with two wins and 10 top-10s. As one of the premiere prospects in the lower series, it leaves fans wondering: Why isn’t his name mentioned for a Cup Series seat?

(Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

With Truex announcing his retirement, the JGR No. 19 Camry should be a shoo-in for Smith to land in 2025. However, two things, or rather, two drivers, stand in his way. The first is Chase Briscoe, who looks to be at the top of Joe Gibbs’ list to replace MTJ. Joe Gibbs could be looking for Briscoe’s mix of youth and experience to vault him ahead of Smith on their free agent board.

What about a third 23XI car? The team has been in the market for a third charter and looks to get one from SHR in the coming weeks. However, that ride looks to go to Corey Heim, who’s been dominating in the Truck Series the past two years. That leaves Smith, at best, third in line for a Cup ride, and with seemingly only two seats on the table, he’d either have to jump manufacturers or wait until 2026 for a chance to drive a Toyota in the Cup.

Hailie Deegan

It wasn’t long ago that Hailie Deegan was seen as a can’t-miss talent. Winning three races in the K&N Series coupled with her massive social media following, it seemed like it wouldn’t be long before we saw Deegan take the NASCAR world by storm. So what happened?

Deegan has struggled since entering the NASCAR national scene in 2021. She spent three years in Trucks with top equipment but could only achieve five top-10s and two laps lead during that time span. She’s currently in her first full-time year in Xfinity, with no top-10s, and sits 29th in points, well outside of the Rookie of the Year battle.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

With Ford going through many changes on both the Cup and Xfinity side, Deegan’s name should be on the list. But her lack of performance leaves her on the bottom of the totem pole, with drivers like Custer and Herbst ahead of her. With SHR shutting down at season’s end, her team, AM Racing, might become the new top Ford team in Xfinity, meaning more resources to help the 22-year-old move up the grid. But until the results improve, Deegan’s name should still remain silent during Silly Season.

Who’s name should be discussed in Silly Season? Who did we leave out? 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 InstagramFacebook, and even YouTube.

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