Who Will Join Trackhouse Racing Team in 2022?

By Nick Sterling in NASCAR
| July 11, 2021 7:49 am PDT

Trackhouse Racing Team surprised the NASCAR world recently when they announced they would be buying Chip Ganassi Racing.

The team already has Daniel Suarez driving the No. 99 Chevrolet, but they will have a second car in 2022. Despite the recent announcement, there is already speculation as to who will join the team next season.

Let’s look at five candidates who could join the Trackhouse Racing Team in 2022.

Ryan Newman

Ryan Newman’s veteran presence could make him an intriguing option for Trackhouse Racing. He isn’t expected to return to Roush Fenway Racing next season, but the 44-year-old has expressed desire to continue his Cup Series career.

“The reality is any driver that goes out on their own terms has quit, right? That’s the only way it works. So, I’m not a quitter. I haven’t achieved my goal.”

Newman made his first Cup Series start all the way back in 2000. The best season of his career came in 2003 when he won eight races. Outside of a second-place finish in the standings in 2014, there hasn’t been much cause for celebration for Newman lately.

He battled on the playoff cutline every season from 2015-2019 before falling back to 25th in the standings last season.

Newman’s 2021 season has been especially tough with just one top-five finish and three top 10 finishes. He sits 24th in the standings, and is on pace to post a career-worst 20.8 average finish.

With how much Newman has struggled recently, what makes him an appealing driver to Trackhouse Racing? His veteran presence.

Trackhouse Racing’s current driver, Daniel Suarez, is in his fifth season in the Cup Series. Suarez has bounced around, as this is his fourth different team in five seasons. With all that moving around, Suarez hasn’t had a chance to build much chemistry with his teammates.

I believe Newman can come to Trackhouse Racing and mentor Suarez.

Suarez is 29 years old, so he likely has at least 10 years left in his racing career. The kid is close to reaching his potential, and is even currently still in position to make the playoff cut in 2021.

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If Newman can even spend a year or two helping Suarez become a better driver, it could go a long way towards him one day becoming a championship contender.

Newman also joined Stewart-Haas Racing when they were a new team in 2009. Trackhouse Racing will be in their second season in 2022, so Newman can continue to help them develop into a true contender.

At this point in his career, Newman’s IQ is more valuable than his car performance. I think he can help develop Suarez while also making the team better as a whole.

John Hunter Nemechek

We go from a 44-year-old veteran to a 24-year-old driver. John Hunter Nemechek accumulated six wins in the Truck Series from 2015-2018. He drove part-time in the Xfinity Series in 2018, winning a race before going full-time in 2019.

He had a solid season with six top-five finishes and 19 top 10 finishes. Nemechek ultimately finished seventh in the standings.

Front Row Motorsports put him in the No. 38 car for their Cup Series team in 2020. While he finished a lowly 27th in the standings, he did post eight top 15 finishes. The team replaced him after just one season.

Seemingly out of options, Nemechek returned to the Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports for the 2021 season. It seemed like he took a step down, going from the Cup Series to the Truck Series, but Nemechek didn’t see it that way.

He stated he was #Here4Wins which was an homage to his No. 4 truck number.

The decision turned out to be a great one. Through 13 races, Nemechek leads the series with five wins, eight top-five finishes, and 11 top 10 finishes. He leads the point standings by 86 points.

If Trackhouse Racing wants to form a formidable duo that could lead the team for the next 10 years, Nemechek should be a top option. I know he loves winning races in the Truck Series, but you have to think his ultimate goal is to return to the Cup Series.

Honestly, I think he deserved to keep his Cup Series ride last season. In terms of performance, he was one of the best drivers in team history. He definitely deserves a second shot with arguably a better team.

Something else to consider, Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks split time with Nemechek at Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series in 2018.

Ryan Preece

Ryan Preece began his NASCAR career driving for JD Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. The team typically runs mid-pack with their lack of top equipment.

He finished 17th in the standings in 2016, but he did record a top 10 finish.

Going into 2017, Preece had a big decision. He could return to JD Motorsports full-time or run select races with Joe Gibbs Racing. Preece went with Joe Gibbs Racing because he wanted a chance to compete in better equipment.

Preece raced four times in 2017, finishing top five in every race.

He even won a race after leading 141 of 254 laps at Iowa Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing upped his schedule to 15 races in 2018. He finished the season with one win, seven top-five finishes, and 11 top 10 finishes.

His strong performances got the attention of JTG Daugherty Racing. They signed him to their Cup Series team in 2019. He struggled in 2019 and 2020, with a combined five top 10 finishes. He also finished outside the top 25 in the standings both seasons.

There is some reason for optimism for Preece. This season, he sits 23rd in the standings with three top 10 finishes. His 21.0 average finish would be a career-best in the Cup Series.

Preece’s team is in a unique scenario. His No. 37 team doesn’t have a charter, meaning they aren’t guaranteed to make every race. They also don’t have enough sponsorship for all 36 races.

It’s impressive to see him step up in such a tough situation. It doesn’t appear that he’ll return to JTG Daugherty Racing in 2022. I think that presents an interesting opportunity to join Trackhouse Racing.

We know he has what it takes to excel in top equipment. Trackhouse Racing isn’t quite there yet but I think they’re on their way. This could be a great time for Preece to jump on board with an up-and-coming team.

Kurt Busch

Now we’re getting into the two most likely candidates. Kurt Busch suddenly found himself without a ride for 2022 when Chip Ganassi Racing sold their team.

But even before the announcement, Busch himself said he spoke with Trackhouse Racing and 23XI Racing about joining one of their team’s next season.

The 42-year-old veteran has had a very successful Cup Series career. He won the championship in 2004 and has finished inside the top 10 in the standings 10 of his 22 seasons. Busch also has 32 career wins.

Busch won at least one race from 2014-2020, but he’s yet to reach victory lane in 2021. He started the season slow, but he has three top 10 finishes in his last four races. He may be on the verge of his first win of 2021.

We talked about how Ryan Newman could provide a veteran presence to Trackhouse Racing, but his driving performance isn’t the best.

Busch provides the veteran presence while also being able to churn out top 10 finishes. His strong runs are only going to help Daniel Suarez and the team get better.

Busch is no stranger to joining new teams. He has raced for six different teams during his 22-year Cup Series career. One of those teams, Furniture Row Racing, was in a similar situation when Busch joined them in 2013.

They were in their fourth season, but they showed improvement every season. Busch led them to their first playoff appearance, finishing 10th in the standings. Just four years later, Martin Truex Jr. won a championship with the team.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s out of the realm to say a similar thing could happen if Busch joined Trackhouse Racing. He can help develop their team into at least a playoff contender.

At age 42, Busch won’t be around forever, but his impact will help Suarez and a potential future driver.

Ross Chastain

Ross Chastain began his NASCAR career by running in some mid-pack equipment in the Xfinity Series. He got his big break late in the 2018 season when Chip Ganassi Racing allowed Chastain to drive his car for three races.

Chastain wrecked while leading in his first start, but he came back with a win and a second-place finish in the next two starts. The team rewarded Chastain with a full-time ride in the Xfinity Series in 2019.

Just when it looked like he finally had a chance to race for a championship, it all went crashing down. Just a month before the season, the team had to shut down when their sponsor, D.C. Solar, was raided by the FBI.

He found a ride in the Truck Series for the 2019 season. He had a great season with three wins and top 10 finishes. Chastain finished second in the standings.

Chastain moved up to the Xfinity Series in 2020. Despite not winning a race, Chastain finished seventh in the standings with 27 top 10 finishes in 33 races.

He finally got a chance to race for Chip Ganassi Racing full-time in the Cup Series in 2021. His season got off to a rough start, but he has three finishes of seventh or better in the last six races.

Now Chastain has to go through losing his ride all over again. The good thing is Trackhouse Racing Owner Justin Marks already said Chastain, along with Kurt Busch would be top candidates.

The 28-year-old needs some stability in his career. He has the talent to run up front and win races, but it seems like something off-track always gets in the way.

Trackhouse Racing could pair two of the more underrated young drivers with Daniel Suarez and Chastain. It could also provide Chastain with some long-term stability that he’s been looking for years.

Predicting Who Joins the Trackhouse Racing Team in 2022

I think Trackhouse Racing is an up-and-coming team in the NASCAR Cup Series. With the right driver, they could become a championship contender in a few years.

Ultimately, I believe they’ll go with Ross Chastain. He is beginning to show a lot of promise and I believe he’ll carry that momentum into the second half of the season.

I’m not sure when the announcement will come but continue to be on the lookout for the potential news.

You can’t bet on who will join Trackhouse Racing Team in 2022, but there are plenty of other ways to make money betting on NASCAR.

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