The CUP Series’ banquet is this coming Thursday in Nashville.  Time to ‘Look Ahead’.  During the off-season, we’ll give a snapshot of where motorists completed in 2019 and what is ahead for them in 2020.  Drivers who finished in the top 20 in points to the Monster Energy Indianapolis 500 Cup Series, indy 500 live XFINITY Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series will be covered.  Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2020 programs, follow NASCAR Headlines and”Player” News on this display for the latest driver updates.

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With 78 days to go until the 2020 NASCAR Dragon Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are a few driver recaps followed by a tentative collection of 2020 Cup Driver/Team lineups. indy 500 live  Teams listed are fulltime and plan on entering all events.

2019: Chris Buescher (JTG Daugherty Racing #37 Chevrolet) – In 36 races, the Prosper, TX driver scored 4 top-tens, had a 21.6 typical beginning, a 17.8 average finish, led 13 laps and shut out the year 20th in the standings.  indy 500 live, Buescher’s greatest CUP season start was 7th in Richmond (4/13) and best finish was 6th in Charlotte (5/26).  His final Cup win was August 1, 2018 at Pocono Raceway.

2020: Buescher left the #37 in the end of the year and will substitute Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as the driver of the #17 Roush Fenway Ford. indy 500 live, Luke Lambert will be his crew chief. 

2019: Paul Menard (Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford) – In 36 races, the Eau Claire, WI driver scored 4 top-10s, had a 16.6 typical beginning, a 16.6 average finish, led 11 laps and closed out the season 19th in the standings.  Menards’ best CUP season start was 2nd at Indianapolis (9/8), best finish was 6th at Bristol (4/7). indy 500 live,  His last CUP triumph was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31, 2011. Indianapolis 500,  Menard also piloted Team Penske’s #12 Mustang in 2 XFINITY Series races; greatest start rod, best finish 4th, both from the June 8th Michigan race.

2020: Menard has retired from full-time racing to spend time with family and friends, also, for more involved in the family business (Menards). indy 500 live, Indianapolis 500,Matt DiBenedetto was signed to drive the #21 Ford for the Wood Brothers.

2019: BJ McLeod (JD Motorsports #4 and #15 Chevrolet) – In 30 races, the Wauchula, FL driver had a 25.9 average start, a 22.8 average finish and shut out the year 20th in the standings. indy 500 live, His best NXS season start was 12th at Homestead (11/16) and the best finishes were 16th at Dover (10/5) and Texas (11/2).  McLeod also made 18 Cup starts for Rick Ware Racing with a best finish of 19th at Daytona (2/17).

2020: McLeod will keep on fielding his own McLeod Motorsports #5, #78 and #99 cars with several drivers. indy 500 live,  He will most likely return to JDM’s #15 Chevy and he’ll also be one of those drivers at one of the three Rick Ware Racing automobiles entering CUP Series races in 2020.

2019: Garrett Smithley (JD Motorsports #0 Chevrolet) – In 33 races, the Ligonier, PA motorist had a 29.4 average start, a 23.6 average end and closed out the year 19th in the standings. indy 500 live, His very best NXS season begins were 20th in Richmond (4/12) and Dover (10/5).  His best finish was 12th in Talladega (4/27).  In addition, he made 14 Cup begins (all” beginning and playground”) for several teams with the best finish of 28th location. 

2020: No firm plans for Smithley at this point.  JD Motorsports has yet to announce their driver lineup for next year. indy 500 live, Smithley is also being considered for one of the three Rick Ware Racing CUP Series automobiles. indianapolis 500.

2019: Christian Eckes (Kyle  Busch Motorsports #51 Toyota Tundra) — In 8 GOT races, the Middletown, NY motorist scored 3 top-fives, 4 top-tens, earned 3 rods, had a 4.8 average start, a 10.5 average end, led 90 laps and closed out the season 20th in the standings. indy 500 live, His very best truck season begins were the poles at Daytona (2/15), Las Vegas (9/13) and Martinsville (10/26). 

His best finishes were 3rd at Las Vegas (9/13) and Homestead (11/15).  Eckes also made the 2019 ARCA Menards Series Championship title forcing Venturini Motorsports #15 Toyota. indy 500 live, He entered 19 of the 20 AMS races (illness for one occasion ) averaging a 5.1 start (including 2 rods ), a 4.8 average finish (such as 4 victories), directed 400 laps and closed out the AMS year 25 points ahead of 2nd-placed Michael self for the tournament.

2020: Kyle  Busch Motorsports announced that Eckes is going to function as a fulltime motorist of KBM’s #18 Toyota Tundra from the GOT show with Safelite as his primary sponsor.

2019: Natalie Decker (DGR-Crosley #54 Toyota Tundra) — In 19 races, the Eagle River, WI driver had a 19.9 average beginning, a 22.2 average finish and closed out the GOT season 19th in the standings. indy 500 live,  Her very best truck launch was 11th in Daytona (2/15) and best finish was 13th in Las Vegas (3/1).


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