The Lottery for No. 48 is Open; Who Holds the Winning Ticket?

Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 during the 2020 West Coast Swing
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Lottery for No. 48 is highly sought after by several potential NASCAR Cup Series drivers. It’s a big win for one lucky driver. And perhaps for Hendrick Motorsports too.

Since seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has said the 2020 season is his last full-time year in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. The question most ask is who will replace him? Without an answer from team owner Rick Hendrick, speculation in the rumor mill is running rampant on social media.

So, who holds the winning ticket?

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Who is Next in the Series Where ‘Names are Made?’

'Names are Made' in the Xfinity Series and this is Noah Gragson after earning his first career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona in February 2020.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 15: Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Bass Pro Shops/BRCC Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2020, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Three drivers ‘made their names’ in the NASCAR Xfinity Series over the last couple of years. Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, and Cole Custer each earned their place in the ‘Big Three’ of the series last year. On their way to collectively winning 21 of 33 races (64%), these three drivers took a meteoric rise to the top. Reddick went on to claim the championship for the second year in a row and now, the ‘Big Three’ are moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series as part of the rookie class in the premier series. That leaves the question of who fills the role of being next in the ‘Series where Names are Made?’

For many, the common answer is Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, and Austin Cindric. These drivers finished the season right behind the departing drivers, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the point standings. Briscoe won at Las Vegas and now leads the series points battle just two races into the season. Meanwhile, Cindric sits sixth and Allgaier ninth. While a strong case can be made for these three, there are other drivers already making their statements for this season on the track.

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Ride of a Lifetime at Buck Baker’s Seat Time Racing School

A Seat Time Racing School patron, Bill Comolli from Elberton, Georgia hold two thumbs up for his solo run at Atlanta Motor Speedway Photo – Jay Husmann/Fan4Racing Blog and Radio

Everyone enjoys doing activities in life that are cool and perhaps even the thrill of a lifetime. Those activities can range from riding the tallest roller coaster to visiting the arch in St. Louis and riding to its peak. Or how about standing over the little stream that is the start of the mighty Mississippi River. How many fans have watched a NASCAR race and thought they would love to drive a race car at least one time?

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Mike Marlar Moving from Grassroots to NASCAR National Level

Photo – Jay Husmann for Fan4Racing Blog and Radio

Coming out of Winfield, Tennessee, dirt track late-model driver Mike Marlar has made a name for himself racing across the country. He is the reigning World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late-Model Champion having started 2018 with winning the Wild West Shootout in Arizona. He has won the infamous Knoxville Late-Model Nationals twice, in 2016 and 17. Early this year, he became the first three-time winner of the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models Series Clash at the Mag at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Mississippi, a Crown Jewel Event.

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Husmann’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Projections

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LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 12: A general view of the start/finish line of Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the upcoming South Point 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Playoff race on September 12, 2019, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Although everyone knows that anything can, and likely will, happen at any given race, reasonable predictions can be made based off of past performance and statistics as well as current team performance and momentum. These factors combined with what top analysts like Larry McReynolds, Jamie McMurray, and Andy Petree are projecting, I’ve come up with which drivers I’m expecting to be eliminated in each round of the playoffs in the Monster Energy NASCAR playoffs en-route to crowning the 2019 Champion.

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