NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto walks through the crowd during driver introductions.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto walks through the crowd during driver introductions. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the now the NASCAR Cup Series, but that is not only change that has been made this offseason in NASCAR’s premier series. The biggest question for you, the bettor, is will any driver moving to a new ride affect how you should handicap the races? Let’s break down some of the moves and see how they may change things.

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick, the back-to-back Xfinity Series Champion, will take over the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing car. Reddick will replace Daniel Hemric. The move improves the chances of the No. 8 car, as Reddick has shown great potential in the lower series. However, the Richard Childress Racing program still has a lot of work to do before it can return to victory lane. Reddick will have every chance to win Rookie of the Year but may fall short of winning any races. His best shot will more than likely be in superspeedway races (Daytona and Talladega).

Chris Buescher and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Chris Buescher will move from the No. 37 JTG Daugherty Chevy to the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford to replace Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will replace Buescher in the No. 37. The move improves Buescher’s chances of winning a race. Stenhouse will now only be playable at superspeedways. However, I’m not so sure the Roush Fenway team is ready for victory lane, so Buescher may still struggle at times this year. When you see Stenhouse’s name on the odds page, make sure you downgrade his chances, as the car is not as good as his previous car. I’ll be curious to see what Buescher can do in a better car next season.

Matt DiBenedetto

Matt DiBenedetto moves from the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota to the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. This is a big upgrade for DiBenedetto, who almost stole a victory at the Bristol night race this year. Matty D should be considered as an upset candidate at certain times in 2020. Next year will be a big “prove it” year for Matty D, and you have to wonder if the oddsmakers will adjust his price next year.

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell, a hot prospect, moves from the Xfinity Series to the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota that will have financial backing through Joe Gibbs Racing. I’m not sure if Bell can win in 2020, as this will be a learning year for him. The purpose is to give him some seat time in this car, so 2021 can be a winning season. The talent is there, but you have to question if the car will be. We’ll know for sure as the year goes on.

Cole Custer

Cole Custer will replace Daniel Suarez in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Custer has been in the lower series with the Stewart-Haas organization and has developed his talents along the way. Very much like a minor league baseball player being called up to the big leagues, this move may give the No. 41 Ford some new life but could be a big learning season for Custer. It may take him some time. The first victory is always hard to come by. My guess is this year will be all about developing notes for 2021, but I can definitely see Custer fighting for Rookie of the Year honors.


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