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Thursday, July 7, 2022
Home Sports NASCAR The top remaining free agent for the 2022 season

The top remaining free agent for the 2022 season


The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is suddenly right around the corner, but not everyone who began the offseason looking for a ride has found one.

A chaotic NASCAR Cup Series silly season did slow down quite a bit as the 2021 season came to a close, but there were still a number of drivers who competed full-time last year yet entered the offseason searching for rides for the 2022 season.

Some of them found new seats. Former Wood Brothers Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto signed a Truck Series deal with Rackley WAR, former Front Row Motorsports driver Anthony Alfredo signed an Xfinity Series deal with Our Motorsports, and former JTG Daugherty Racing driver Ryan Preece signed a reserve driver deal with Stewart-Haas Racing .

However, one of the key free agents entering the offseason is still without a ride, and he recently admitted that this does not look likely to change.

After the 2021 season ended, former Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman insisted that he had no plans to retire from racing, but he also admitted that he had no idea what his future holds as it pertains to competition.

It was believed that it might be in NASCAR, it might be in something else, and it might not be in anything; he really had no idea.

But as time went on, it has become clearer that the 22-year Cup Series veteran would not be back full-time in 2022.

Newman, who had driven for Roush Fenway Racing since 2019, lost his ride for 2022 when the team confirmed that Brad Keselowski is set to join the organization after spending 12 seasons for Team Penske, leaving Newman without a full-time ride for the first time since 2001.

Keselowski is set to replace Newman behind the wheel of the # 6 Ford alongside Chris Buescher behind the wheel of the # 17 Ford. He has also become a team co-owner, joining Jack Roush and Fenway Sports Group, and the team have been renamed RFK Racing due to his arrival.

A return to NASCAR was still seen as possible for the 44-year-old South Bend, Indiana native, with multiple seats still open as the offseason got underway. Rick Ware Racing had not confirmed drivers for the two entries they planned to run in 2022, and Front Row Motorsports had not confirmed a replacement for Alfredo behind the wheel of the # 38 Ford.

But that has since changed, with Rick Ware Racing confirming Cody Ware as the full-time driver of the # 51 Ford and confirming several part-time drivers for the # 15 Ford, including Preece, Joey Hand, David Ragan and Garrett Smithley. Additionally, Front Row Motorsports confirmed rookie Todd Gilliland as Alfredo’s replacement.

A part-time ride with RFK Racing in a non-chartered entry had also been discussed for Newman, though that does not appear likely with the Daytona 500 right around the corner. One would assume that, if this entry were added, it would at least be added for Daytona, where Newman would be considered one of the favorites right off the bat.

Without anything lined up in NASCAR, Newman plans to race at the grassroots level throughout 2022. He stated that his options now are to race “just for fun”.

So will Newman compete in the Cup Series at all in 2022, or will this be the first season in which he does not compete in any races since 1999? The season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, February 20 with the 64th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 pm ET.



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