Last year, the NASCAR Cup Series had its annual “Silly Season” where the drivers and teams put together their plans for the upcoming season. Notable moves included some old faces landing in new places as well as a pair of rookies joining the fray. With the Daytona 500 fast approaching, it’s worth rehashing which drivers will be in new rides for the 2022 year’s NASCAR season.
The following article recaps each of the five most noteworthy free agency moves and provides some insight into each new driver-team pairing ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
NASCAR Cup Series Free Agency Moves Recap
Brad Keselowski Buys Ownership Stake in Roush-Fenway
A shocker in the NASCAR Cup Series world happened when Brad Keselowski announced he was leaving Team Penske to become an owner-driver at what was then known as Roush-Fenway Racing. Keselowski comes in hoping to change the fact that the newly-named “Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing” has not won a race since 2017. He certainly has the knowledge and experience to help this team. Perhaps landing a veteran of the sport like Keselowski will help RFK Racing return to prominence.
Austin Cindric Makes the Jump to Team Penske Ride
Austin Cindric was the only driver for Team Penske in the NASCAR Xfinity Series last season. He is now set to race at the top level for the same organization. In the wake of Keselowski’s departure, the 2020 Xfinity Series champion will take over the No. 2 Ford Mustang instead of the No. 21 like he was originally supposed to. Cindric has raced in the NASCAR Cup Series on several occasions and even led some laps in various races. He will be a driver to look out for in 2022.
Harrison Burton Switches Teams to Drive for Wood Brothers Racing
Another driver who will be jumping up from the Xfinity Series is Harrison Burton. After driving for Joe Gibbs Racing at the lower level, Burton makes the transition from Toyota to Ford as he takes over the iconic No. 21 Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing. He will replace veteran Matt DiBenedetto in the ride and will become a pseudo-teammate of Cindric’s at Team Penske. Unlike his fellow 2022 NASCAR Cup Series rookie, however, Burton has never raced in the Cup Series before.
Ross Chastain Joins Trackhouse Racing
With Chip Ganassi Racing selling all of its assets to Trackhouse Racing last summer, their two drivers had to find other rides for the 2022 season. It didn’t take long for Ross Chastain to do so. He is set to take over the No. 1 car for Trackhouse as the organization adds a second full-time team in its sophomore season. Essentially, Chastain will actually be in the same equipment as he was last season with CGR. He will look to get to victory lane for the first time in his short NASCAR Cup Series career. Perhaps he will also deliver the first win for Trackhouse Racing in the process.
Kurt Busch Shifts Over to 23XI Racing
Like his former Chip Ganassi teammate in Chastain, veteran Kurt Busch needed to find a new ride for the 2022 season. The 2004 NASCAR Cup Series Champion will drive for the fourth different manufacturer in his career when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 45 Toyota Camry for 23XI Racing. Busch should be able to help the young race team with his knowledge both on and off the track. 23XI Racing teammate Bubba Wallace has been a polarizing figure in the NASCAR world over the past couple of years. As a man who dealt with a lot of controversies early on in his career, Busch figures to be the perfect driver to help Wallace navigate those waters.