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The Daytona 500 green flag drops in 41 days

by Anthony Ballantoni
Updated On: January 5, 2021, 11:24 pm ET

Only 41 days remain before the green flag drops to start the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500. Here is a brief look at Cup Series 10th-placed Kurt Busch’s 2020 NASCAR season including his first Cup Series win after 22 attempts at his hometown track. Also, snapshots on a few other drivers who finished in the Top-20 across NASCAR’s three premium series. The tentative list of 2021 Cup Driver/Team lineups attached shows only those teams who plan on entering all events. Since some have yet to announce their 2021 plans, follow NASCAR Headlines and "Player" News on this site for the latest driver/team updates.

                    NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

2020: Kurt Busch (Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 36 races, the Las Vegas, Nevada native scored 1 win, 7 top-fives, 19 top-tens, had a 9.7 average start, a 13.44 average finish and led 169 laps. His victory in the Sept. 27th South Point 400 at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway (after 22 attempts) earned him a spot in the Playoffs Round of 16. He also made it through the Round of 12, into the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the start of the series season-ending Championship 4 event. He closed out the year 10th in the NCS standings.
2021: Kurt Busch has signed a multi-year extension to continue driving CGR’s #1 Camaro. Crew chief Matt McCall and primary sponsor Monster Energy return as well.

2020: Ryan Blaney (Team Penske #12 Ford Mustang) - In 36 races, the High Point, North Carolina native scored 1 win, 11 top-fives, 17 top-tens, had an 11.4 average start, a 13.83 average finish and led 668 laps. His victory in the June 22nd GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (photo finish: 0.007 seconds ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) earned him a spot in the Playoffs Round of 16. He was eliminated before the start of the Round of 12. Blaney closed out the season 9th in the NCS standings.
2021: Blaney signed with Team Penske through at least the 2022 season. Todd Gordon will return as crew chief for the #12 team. No firm word on sponsorship but Menards will most likely be present on Blaney’s Mustang.

           NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS)

2020: Ryan Sieg (RSS Racing #39 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Tucker, Georgia native scored 7 top-fives, 11 top-tens, had a 9.8 average start, a 15.55 average finish and led 103 laps. At the end of the regular season, Sieg was 11th in points which earned him a spot in the NXS Playoffs Round of 12. He completed the Round of 12 and advanced to the Round of 8 but was eliminated before the start of the series season-ending Championship 4 event. Sieg closed out the year 10th in the NXS standings. His best finish was a 2nd place in the Oct. 3rd Ag-Pro 300 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
2021: Sieg’s family-owned team plans on entering another full season. Kevin Starland will return as crew chief for the #39 team. CMR Construction & Roofing will continue as primary sponsorship for Sieg’s Camaro.

2020: Michael Annett (JR Motorsports #1 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Des Moines, Iowa native scored 4 top-fives, 22 top-tens, had a 9.0 average start, an 11.79 average finish and led 37 laps. At the end of the regular season, Annett was 8th in points which earned him a spot in the NXS Playoffs Round of 12. He was eliminated before the start of the Round of 8 and closed out the season 9th in the NXS standings. His best finish was a 4th place in the Nov. 7th season-ending Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway.
2021: JRM announced in November that Annett will return for another season in the #1 Chevrolet. Sponsors Pilot Flying J, Northland Oil, Allstate Parts and TMC Transportation will also return. Annett’s crew chief for the last 2 1/2 seasons has left the team to be crew chief for the new Trackhouse Racing CUP team. Mike Bumgarner takes over that spot for the #1 team.

         NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NTS)

2020: Todd Gilliland (Front Row Motorsports #38 Ford F-150) - In 23 races, the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native scored 4 top-fives, 10 top-tens, had a 12.8 average start, a 16.13 average finish and led 98 laps. At the end of the regular season, Gilliland was 10th in points which earned him a spot in the NTS Playoffs Round of 10. He was eliminated from the playoffs before the start of the Round of 8 and closed out the year 10th in the standings. Gilliland’s best 2020 results were 4th place finishes: June 6th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, June 28th at Pocono Raceway and August 21st at Dover Int’l Speedway.
2021: Unless something is announced soon, Gilliland is scheduled to return to FRM’s #38 truck with Jon Leonard calling the shots from the pit box. Black’s Tire and Speedco are still expected to sponsor the team’s #38 F-150.

2020: Tyler Ankrum (GMS Racing #26 Chevrolet Silverado) - In 23 races, the San Bernardino, California native scored 3 top-fives, 10 top-tens, had an 8.6 average start, a 13.39 average finish and led 54 laps. At the end of the regular season, Ankrum was 9th in points which earned him a spot in the NTS Playoffs Round of 10. He also made the cut for the Round of 8 but was eliminated from the playoffs before the series season-ending Championship 4 event. Ankrum closed out 2020 9th in the standings. Ankrum’s best 2020 result was runner-up to CUP regular Kyle Busch in the June 13th Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2021: Ankrum, the 2019 Truck series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, will return for another full season with GMS racing. Chad Walter will continue as crew chief for the Liuna sponsored #26 Chevrolet Silverado team.

                      2021 Tentative NCS Series Team Chart

Car Driver Owner Crew Chief Sponsor
00 Chevy Quin Houff StarCom Racing George Church -
1 Chevy Kurt Busch  Chip Ganassi Racing Matt McCall Monster Energy
2 Ford Brad Keselowski Team Penske Jeremy Bullins Discount Tire
3 Chevy Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Justin Alexander -
4 Ford Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Rodney Childers Busch Beer, Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza
5 Chevy Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Cliff Daniels -
6 Ford Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Scott Graves Oscar Mayer, Wyndham Rewards, Castrol, Guaranteed Rate
7 Chevy Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports Ryan Sparks -
8 Chevy Tyler Reddick  Richard Childress Racing Randall Burdett Okuma
9 Chevy Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Alan Gustafson NAPA Auto Parts, Hooters, LLumar
10 Ford Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Mike Bugarewics  Smithfield
11 Toyota Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Chris Gabehart FedEx
12 Ford Ryan Blaney  Team Penske Todd Gordon -
14 Ford Chase Briscoe - R Stewart-Haas Racing - HighPoint
15 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing  Pat Tryson -
17 Ford Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Luke Lambert Castrol
18 Toyota Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Ben Beshore M&Ms, Skittles, Pedigree, Interstate Batteries
19 Toyota Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing James Small Auto Owners Ins.
20 Toyota Christopher Bell  Joe Gibbs Racing Adam Stevens Rheem, Craftsman
21 Ford Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Greg Erwin Motorcraft/Quick Lane
22 Ford Joey Logano Team Penske Paul Wolfe Shell-Pennzoil, AAA, Autotrader, MoneyLion 
23 Toyota Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing Mike Wheeler DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr Pepper, Root Insurance
24 Chevy William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Rudy Fugle Axalta, Liberty University 
34 Ford Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Drew Blickensderfer -
37 Chevy Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Trent Owens Kroger, Bush's Beans
38 Ford - Front Row Motorsports Seth Barbour -
41 Ford Cole Custer  Stewart-Haas Racing Mike Shiplett -
42 Chevy Ross Chastain Chip Ganassi Racing - McDonald's
43 Chevy Erik Jones Richard Petty Motorsports Jerry Baxter Victory Junction
47 Chevy Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Brian Pattie Kroger, NOS Energy Drink
48 Chevy Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Greg Ives Ally Financial
51 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Jason Houghtaling Biohaven Pharmaceuticals’ Nurtec
52 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Mike Hillman Sr. -
53 Chevy - Rick Ware Racing Todd Parrott -
66 Ford Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Steven Idol -
77 Chevy - Spire Motorsports Kevin Bellicourt -
78 Ford BJ McLeod Live Fast Motorsports - Keen Parts
96 Toyota - Gaunt Brothers Racing - -
99 Chevy Daniel Suarez Trackhouse Racing Travis Mack -
  R - Rookie of The Year contender      
Anthony Ballantoni
Anthony Ballantoni is a Senior Sports Writer at Rotoworld.com.