The 5 most eligible drivers in search of a ride for 2016

BY Jared Turner • January 14, 2016

With the start of the 2016 NASCAR season just around the corner, several drivers are on the outside looking in as they continue to hunt for a ride.

Here are the five biggest names still seeking work:


The 22-year-old son of 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth is a rising star in search of more opportunities to showcase his potential. That potential was on full display when he qualified second and finished sixth in his XFINITY Series debut last summer at Chicagoland Speedway, where he drove a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The second-generation driver also won in one of his two ARCA starts last season. As of now, no concrete plans for Kenseth have been announced for 2016.


A veteran of 330 Sprint Cup Series starts, Gilliland has been with Front Row Motorsports since 2010. But with the hiring of 2015 XFINITY Series champion Chris Buescher for 2016, Gilliland has been forced to look elsewhere.


Following a trying first season at Richard Petty Motorsports, Hornish was let go by the organization, which has hired Brian Scott to fill out its two-car Sprint Cup roster. Hornish is a three-time IndyCar champion and former Indianapolis 500 winner, and has proven capable on the NASCAR side as well, winning three XFINITY Series races and finishing second in the 2013 XFINITY standings.


After three successful full-time seasons in the XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports, where he won six races, Regan Smith was the odd man out when the company brought veteran Elliott Sadler -- and Sadler's longtime primary sponsor, OneMain Financial -- onboard for the 2016 season. A former full-time Cup driver whose lone Cup win came at Darlington with Furniture Row Racing in 2011, Smith brings a lot to the table for any prospective team owner.


The Unadilla, Georgia native spent time in three cars and competed for three different organizations last season, finishing out the year in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. But when MWR folded at season's end, Ragan -- a two-time Sprint Cup Series race winner whose career began at Roush Fenway Racing -- was left without a job for 2016.



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