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Five options for Chip Ganassi Racing to consider for the No.42 Team in 2021

Image Reference: RegularShowJT via Wikipedia, CC BY 4.0

Right now, Chip Ganassi Racing unexpectedly changed its lineup in the No.42 squad earlier this year.

Thanks to the racial slur from Kyle Larson that many of the sponsors unwilling to condone the behavior that could put a negative image of the team had he stayed.

And Chip Ganassi Racing had no choice but to release him to keep the sponsors’ relationship healthy.

Ross Chastain was to step into Larson’s ride immediately.

But he has ongoing full-time Xfinity Series commitments with Kaulig Racing.

So Matt Kenseth stepped instead for the rest of this season.

Yes, he got a great start at the Darlington restart in 10th and almost won the Brickyard 400, but at times it’s only an up and down form.

Chip Ganassi Racing gears up for 2021, let’s see which options suit best to take over from Kenseth full-time.

Erik Jones

Image Reference: Wikipedia

He will be a free agent when his time at Joe Gibbs Racing is up after this year.

If Jones goes to Ganassi, then he will tick the boxes the team requires.

He’s 24, young and talented racer proven with a Truck Series title, the regular front-runner in the Xfinity Series, and can win Cup races.

It’s hard to see him land in unfortunate situations, although he punched his ticket to the Playoffs before (not in 2020), having made some great process at the beginning of the year.

This will be another chance for Jones to prove Joe Gibbs Racing wrong as to why they got rid of him.

This time he’ll provide competition with Kurt Busch in a two-car team, so focusing on quality rather than quantity will benefit and boost his vast experience at Cup level.

Ross Chastain

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It’s no secret that Chip Ganassi Racing admires him.

They gave him a chance nearly two years ago in their Xfinity Series program for a few races and took his opportunity very well.

It was enough to hire Chastain as their only full-time Xfinity Series driver originally for 2019 at the time.

Then the wrongdoing from DC Solar, who backed sponsorship dollars for Chastain, saw him out of a job when the team, unfortunately, shut down its Xfinity Series operation.

Since then, he moved down a level to Trucks during mid-2019 & became a front-runner where Chastain almost won the Championship.

He’s at Kaulig Racing full-time in the Xfinity Series, sitting in 3rd at the drivers’ standings despite not yet won in victory lane in 2020.

If Chastain moves to the No.42 car, he can offer plenty of consistency, experience & talent that Ganassi still sees the best version of himself today.

Winning or staying ahead in the top half is what he’s getting used to nowadays, which is essential for Ganassi to see.

Bubba Wallace

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Nearly a month ago, Bubba said that he received an offer to join Chip Ganassi before fast forward to today, where he chose not to return to Richard Petty Motorsports at season’s end.

If he joins Chip Ganassi Racing, then Bubba will have a lot more sponsors to choose from.

And it will be another boost to the team’s Cup Series budget that will hopefully challenge the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing for a shot to try and win races plus the Championship.

He has shown plenty of potential at times despite not making to the final 16 Playoffs bubble before.

But he’s getting there having driven a Cup car for three full-time seasons.

So it’s safe to say that Bubba has all of the above requirements that the team can hopefully secure his signature in the next few years.

That way, a bigger budget of sponsorship dollars plus the proper equipment with the help from Chevy Hendrick engines at a world-class team is something Bubba would find it hard to turn down.

Matt DiBenedetto

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His spot at Wood Brothers Racing for 2021 is not yet secured as he may be out of a job due to Austin Cindric in the Xfinity Series.

If Team Penske gives Cindric a chance in Cup Racing, then he’ll likely to race for Wood Brothers Racing.

And that means there are no other vacancies in the main Cup operation with three primary rides locked up in the long-term.

DiBenedetto always deserves a long-term stay with a decent team thanks to his hard work proven with limited budget teams like GO FAS & Leavine (now a midfield organization competitively).

And a team like Chip Ganassi would be an excellent fit for a proven racer like DiBenedetto.

This time he hopes to be there on a multi-year deal since Ganassi doesn’t have a driver development program anymore since the shut down of their Xfinity Series program after 2018.

He doesn’t need the sponsorship as Ganassi already sorted out themselves in the No.42 car.

All it matters is results as DiBenedetto can provide healthy competition to Kurt Busch, having not had a team-mate in recent years.

Corey LaJoie

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He made some improvements and have proved people wrong since he’s at GO FAS Racing for nearly two years now.

He’s nearly 29, so there’s still time for LaJoie to reach his predecessor’s level competitively.

Again, there’s no need to bring sponsors over.

But delivering decent results in par with the sister No.1 Chevy is a must.

Well, having LaJoie at the helm can meet the requirements that Ganassi expects to see each week.

He can capitalize on other people’s situations that led to the correct calls regarding strategy and some clean air to back up his natural game.

And LaJoie can add another dimension at Chip Ganassi where he can take advantage of the short and/or long runs under the green flag and maintain the positions defensively.

Verdict

If I was part of a group that someone who is best suited for the No.42 Ganassi team in 2021, then the first pick would be Ross Chastain.

Chastain has yet to taste regular decent, consistent results competitively in Cup level at a middle to top budget operation like Ganassi.

He worked his way through merit in the lower leagues, having almost won the Truck Series title, sitting in a great position right now in Xfinity, and has plenty of clock miles recorded with limited-budget teams before at the top level.

Ganassi has plans for him, and they should give Chastain the promise he deserves.

Image Reference: Wikipedia

He’s the last bastion of the Ganassi second-tier team that other teams usually do to give drivers to prove their worth at a set amount of time like 2-3 years and get used to running upfront before moving them to the Cup Series.

It’s something Ganassi couldn’t do without their control, thanks to the DC Solar corruption.

And in the end, they shouldn’t disregard Chastain for all the diligent work since they scouted & later signed him up after plenty of times in a limited-budget run JD Motorsports.

PS. According to Adam Stern, an officlal announcement regarding the long-term Kyle Larson replacement will talke place today just an while ago after I finished watching CBS This Morning.

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