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Saturday, May 28, 2022

NASCAR 2022: All Cup Series teams and drivers in the field for this season

With just one month left before it commences, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is already being billed as one of monumental change. With the debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car serving as the tip of the iceberg, the expectation is that this coming season will be one that brings stock car racing into the future and sets the standard for a new era of innovative cars and the stars that drive them.

It should come as no surprise, then, that there has been considerable movement on the driver and team market. With the shift into NASCAR’s next generation now including its team owners, silly season saw the status quo of the NASCAR Cup Series disturbed at a level that hasn’t been seen in years. As new and ambitious owners expand their footprint in stock car racing, up-and-coming drivers and entrenched veterans alike are making moves to new rides that could very well alter the competitive balance of the sport’s highest level.

Here is a complete and comprehensive look at the NASCAR Cup Series driver and team lineup for 2022, which will be updated as more announcements are made ahead of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum and the Daytona 500.

Full-Time Teams

#1 – Ross Chastain – Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Phil Surgen)

Following the sale of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operation to Trackhouse Racing, Chastain moves from Ganassi’s No. 42 to the newly-numbered Trackhouse Racing No. 1. Chastain showed major flashes in 2021 and flirted with scoring his first career victory on several occasions, with his best finish being a second-place run at Nashville.

#2 – Austin Cindric (R) – Team Penske Ford (Crew Chief: Jeremy Bullins)

Cindric, the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, will replace Brad Keselowski as the driver of Penske’s No. 2 Ford and compete for Rookie of the Year honors. Cindric ran seven Cup races in 2021, earning a best finish of 9th at Indianapolis.

#3 – Austin Dillon – Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Justin Alexander)

Austin Dillon returns as the driver of RCR’s iconic No. 3, and he will look for a bounce back campaign after missing out on a playoff spot in 2021. Dillon has done his best work in major races, winning the 2018 Daytona 500 and 2017 Coca-Cola 600 as well as a 500-mile race at Texas in 2020.

#4 – Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Rodney Childers)

Still going strong at 46 years old, Kevin Harvick returns for his 22nd full-time season in the Cup Series. Although he had a strong statistical season in 2021 and finished fifth in the final standings, Harvick is looking to get back to Victory Lane after going winless in a season for the first time since 2009.

#5 – Kyle Larson – Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels)

One year after building back up from the lowest point of his career, Kyle Larson enters 2022 as the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion and looks to become the first driver to score back-to-back Cup titles since Jimmie Johnson. 2021 couldn’t have gone any better for Larson, as he won 10 races and put together one of the most dominant seasons for a Cup champion in recent memory.

#6 – Brad Keselowski – RFK Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Matt McCall)

After over a decade at Team Penske, Brad Keselowski moves to what was Roush Fenway Racing for 2022 and beyond, becoming the driver of the team’s flagship No. 6 and co-owner of the newly-renamed RFK Racing. Crew chiefing for Keselowski will be Matt McCall, who joins the organization after working with Kurt Busch the past three seasons.

#7 – Corey LaJoie – Spire Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Ryan Sparks)

Corey LaJoie returns for a second season at Spire Motorsports, building on what was a year of growth for both LaJoie and his race team in 2021. LaJoie elevated Spire’s level of performance, but scored only one top 10 finish — a ninth-place run in the Daytona 500.

#8 – Tyler Reddick – Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Randall Burnett)

Tyler Reddick returns for a third season at Richard Childress Racing after making the playoffs for the first time in 2021. Reddick is a prime candidate to become a first-time winner in 2022, as he has contended for multiple wins and finished second on three occasions since going full-time Cup racing in 2020.

#9 – Chase Elliott – Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson)

Chase Elliott, NASCAR’s most popular driver and one of its brightest young stars, will run it back once again at Hendrick Motorsports after winning twice and making it to the Championship 4 in defense of his 2020 title. Elliott will seek to revisit the Winner’s Circle on an oval, as both of his 2021 wins came on road courses.

#10 – Aric Almirola – Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer)

2022 will mark Aric Almirola’s final season as a NASCAR driver, as he will retire at the end of the season to spend more time with his family. Almirola gets a new crew chief for his farewell tour, as Drew Blickensderfer joins Stewart-Haas Racing after winning his second Daytona 500 at Front Row Motorsports.

#11 – Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: Chris Gabehart)

As his footprint as co-owner of 23XI Racing expands alongside his career win total, Denny Hamlin will seek to finally win a NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2022 after making the Championship 4 in each of the last three seasons. With 46 career wins, Hamlin is second only to Junior Johnson among drivers never to win a Cup title on NASCAR’s all-time wins list.

#12 – Ryan Blaney – Team Penske Ford (Crew Chief: Jonathan Hassler)

After winning three races in 2021, Ryan Blaney has a new crew chief for 2022: Following the retirement of Todd Gordon, Jonathan Hassler moves from Wood Brothers Racing to Team Penske to assume the top of the pit box for Blaney’s No. 12 team.

#14 – Chase Briscoe – Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Crew Chief: John Klausmeier)

The 2021 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Chase Briscoe looks to take a second-year leap as the driver of Stewart-Haas’ No. 14. Briscoe showed flashes of the ability that made him a dominant driver in the Xfinity Series, but scored only three top 10 finishes with a best result of sixth on two occasions.

#15 – David Ragan and Ryan Preece – Rick Ware Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Jason Houghtaling)

Rick Ware Racing has concentrated their efforts for 2022 after running four full-time cars in 2021, and they will run two full-time cars while switching to Ford as part of a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing. Their No. 15 team will feature multiple drivers: David Ragan will race the Daytona 500 and other events, while Ryan Preece will also see time behind the wheel.

#16 – A.J. Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson – Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Matt Swiderski)

After fielding a part-time Cup team and winning their first race at Indianapolis last year, Kaulig Racing has taken the next step and will field two full-time Cup teams in 2022. Their No. 16 will feature a trio of Xfinity Series stars, as A.J. Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, and Noah Gragson will all take turns behind the wheel.

Allmendinger has two career Cup wins including last year at Indy, while Hemric was the 2019 Cup Series Rookie of the Year before winning last year’s Xfinity Series Championship. Gragson, who has five career Xfinity wins, will see his first major Cup action in 2022.

#17 – Chris Buescher – RFK Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Scott Graves)

While Brad Keselowski’s arrival signals major changes at RFK Racing, Chris Buescher remains the driver of the team’s No. 17 after scoring one top 5 and eight top 10 finishes in 2021 while leading a career-high 93 laps. Buescher is seeking his first Cup win since his rookie year of 2016.

#18 – Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: Ben Beshore)

Rowdy returns once again as the driver of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18, with the big story surrounding him being exactly who will adorn his car moving foward. 2022 will mark M&M’s final season as Busch’s primary sponsor, as they will leave NASCAR at season’s end.

#19 – Martin Truex Jr. – Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: James Small)

Martin Truex Jr. will compete in his fourth season at Joe Gibbs Racing, and looks to win his second Cup title after multiple missed opportunities. Truex has been the championship runner-up three out of the last four seasons, including a narrow loss to Kyle Larson in last year’s season finale.

#20 – Christopher Bell – Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: Adam Stevens)

Christopher Bell returns for his second season at Joe Gibbs Racing and his third overall as a Cup driver. Bell started the 2021 season strong by earning his first career win at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, and posted career-highs in top 5s (seven) and top 10s (16) en route to a 12th-place finish in the final standings.

#21 – Harrison Burton (R) – Wood Brothers Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Brian Wilson)

Harrison Burton will move up from the Xfinity Series to drive the Wood Brothers No. 21 and run for Rookie of the Year. Burton, the 21-year old son of longtime NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, became the first driver born in the 2000s to run a Cup Series race when he made his debut last spring at Talladega.

#22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske Ford (Crew Chief: Paul Wolfe)

Joey Logano is looking for a bounce-back campaign in 2022, as his 2021 season was a disappointment by his recent standards: Logano only won a single race at Bristol (Dirt), but he scored less than 20 top 10 finishes (19) and finished outside of the top 5 in the final standings for the first time since 2017.

#23 – Bubba Wallace – 23XI Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: Bootie Barker)

Following a much-ballyhooed move to 23XI Racing in 2021, Bubba Wallace made history with his first career win last Fall at Talladega, becoming only the second Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race and the first since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in 1964. Wallace will look to build on his overall stats, as he and his race team scored just three top 10 finishes in 2021 — though all were top 5s.

#24 – William Byron – Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle)

2021 was the best season of William Byron’s young Cup career, as he shattered his career-high marks for top 5s (12) and top 10s (20) while also winning at Homestead en route to 10th in the final standings. The next step for Byron will be to win multiple races in a season, as he was the only Hendrick driver to not do so in 2021.

#31 – Justin Haley – Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Trent Owens)

After racing full-time for Kaulig in Xfinity and most of last year’s Cup season for Spire Motorsports, Justin Haley has been tabbed as the full-time driver of one of Kaulig’s two new full-time Cup teams. Haley is already a winner in Cup, having scored his maiden victory at Daytona in 2019, and he also scored two top 10 finishes last year while earning significant Cup experience with Spire.

#34 – Michael McDowell – Front Row Motorsports Ford (Crew Chief: Blake Harris)

2021 marked the best season of Michael McDowell’s journeyman career, as he earned his first career victory by winning the Daytona 500, scored a career-high five Top 10s, and made the playoffs, finishing 16th in the final standings. McDowell will have a new crew chief for 2022, as Blake Harris takes over for Drew Blickensderfer after his departure to Stewart-Haas Racing.

#38 – Todd Gilliland (R) – Front Row Motorsports Ford (Crew Chief: Seth Barbour)

Front Row’s No. 38 team will feature a rookie driver for the third year in a row, as Todd Gilliland moves up from the Camping World Truck Series to take the wheel. The hire of Gilliland keeps things all in the family, as his father David Gilliland drove the No. 38 for most of his Cup career — including at Front Row in 2010 and then again from 2012 to 2015. The third-generation racer has two career wins in Trucks and finished seventh in the series standings last year.

#41 – Cole Custer – Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Mike Shiplett)

After winning Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2020, the sophomore slump hit Cole Custer like a load of bricks in 2021. Custer suffered the most of any Stewart-Haas Racing driver in a down year for the organization, as he endured an awful season with just two top 10 finishes and finishing 26th in the final standings. Still, Custer’s pedigree from the Xfinity Series precedes him, and he earned his first career Cup win with a dramatic last-lap pass at Kentucky in 2020.

#42 – Ty Dillon – Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Jerame Donley)

Ty Dillon returns to full-time Cup racing in 2022 after spending the 2021 season as a part-time driver, a position he had to settle for after a lack of sponsorship led to his Cup team shutting down at the end of 2020. Dillon originally signed on as the driver of GMS Racing’s new Cup team, which merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in December.

#43 – Erik Jones – Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Dave Elenz)

Richard Petty Motorsports has merged with GMS Racing, forming a two-car Cup team to compete under the Petty brand and banner. Erik Jones returns as the driver of The King’s No. 43, and he will have a new crew chief in tow for 2022. Dave Elenz, who won two Xfinity Series championships as crew chief for JR Motorsports, assumes the top of the pit box.

#45 – Kurt Busch – 23XI Racing Toyota (Crew Chief: Billy Scott)

23XI Racing expands from one to two cars in 2022, with Kurt Busch — the longest-tenured Cup driver — taking the wheel of the new No. 45 Toyota. Busch will be paired with crew chief Billy Scott, a reunion after the two previously worked together at Stewart-Haas Racing.

#47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Brian Pattie)

Ricky Stenhouse signed a contract extension to return to JTG Daugherty Racing in September, and he will drive the team’s No. 47 for a third-straight season. Stenhouse stands to gain from the team concentrating its resources, as they have downsized from two to one full-time team.

#48 – Alex Bowman – Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Greg Ives)

Alex Bowman signed a two-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports last June, which was well-timed given that Bowman had his best season as a Cup driver with four wins. Bowman will look to be more consistent in 2022, as his five DNFs contributed to him only managing 14th in the final standings.

#51 – Cody Ware – Rick Ware Racing Ford (Crew Chief: Billy Plourde)

Rick Ware Racing is keeping things in the family with their No. 51 Ford, as Cody Ware will serve as the team’s driver for the second-straight season. Ware made strides as a NASCAR driver in 2021 while also demonstrating his versatility by competing in three IndyCar races during the course of the year.

No. 77 – Josh Bilicki and Landon Cassill – Spire Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Kevin Bellicourt)

After running the entire 2021 season for Rick Ware Racing, Josh Bilicki will move to Spire Motorsports to drive the team’s No. 77 Chevrolet for most of the 2022 season. While Bilicki will serve as the team’s primary driver, Spire’s No. 77 will feature some other drivers as well. Landon Cassill, for instance, will compete for the team in the Clash at the Coliseum.

#78 – B.J. McLeod – Live Fast Motorsports Ford (Crew Chief: Lee Leslie)

Live Fast Motorsports returns for its second Cup season, with 2019 Cup rookie Matt Tifft and veteran driver B.J. McLeod once again fielding a full-time team. McLeod drove the team’s No. 78 for most of the 2021 season, with a career milestone coming when the 38-year old journeyman scored his first-ever top 10 finish at Daytona.

#99 – Daniel Suarez – Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Travis Mack)

Daniel Suarez will return to Trackhouse Racing in 2022 after helping significantly in laying the team’s foundation in 2021. The Monterrey, Mexico driver and first foreign-born NASCAR champion scored four top 10 finishes and a single top 5, with the highlight of his season coming when he led 58 laps and finished fourth at Bristol (Dirt).

Part-Time Teams/Teams with no Charter

#27 – Loris Hezemans and Jacques Villeneuve – Team Hezeberg Ford

Netherlands-based Hezeberg Systems has formed an alliance with Reaume Brothers Racing to field a Cup car in select races in 2022. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Loris Hezemans will serve as the team’s primary driver, but the team will make a splash by entering the Daytona 500 with former Indianapolis 500 winner and F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve in the driver’s seat.

#62 – Noah Gragson – Beard Motorsports Chevrolet (Crew Chief: Darren Shaw)

Beard Motorsports, which has fielded cars at Daytona and Talladega over the past several years, will return in 2022 despite the death of car owner Mark Beard last January. Noah Gragson will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 driving for the team, and takes his second shot at The Great American Race after failing to qualify in 2021.

#66 – Timmy Hill – MBM Motorsports Ford (Crew Chief: Clinton Cram)

Longtime independent car owner Carl Long is expected to once again field a part-time Cup team to complement a fleet of Xfinity Series teams. The team will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Timmy Hill as their driver.

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