Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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2017 Daytona 500 in 15 days

Friday, February 10, 2017


During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2016 and what’s ahead for them in 2017. We will look at drivers who finished in the top 40 in the Sprint Cup Series (now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) in 2017) point standings and those who ended the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series standings in the top 30 in points. Since many teams are still working on their 2017 plans, follow Rotoworld NASCAR Headlines for the latest updates.

With 15 days to go until the 2017 MENCS season-opening Daytona 500, here are the final driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2017 Cup driver/team lineups.

NASCAR Cup Series (NSCS):
2016: Carl Edwards – Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Camry - In 36 races, the Columbia, MO driver scored three wins, six poles, nine top-5s, 18 top-10s, led 918 laps, had a 7.2 average start, a 13.9 average finish, earned 5,007 points and made the 2016 Chase to the Sprint Cup. Edwards made it through the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8 events to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. After a late-race wreck on a restart between Edwards and Joey Logano (both contenders for the championship, and both running in the top five at the time), Edwards’ car was destroyed and his chance at the title was over. He closed out the season fourth in the standings.
Best 2016 NSCS starts: Pole – Texas 4/9, Bristol 4/17, Sonoma 6/26, Watkins Glen 8/7, Bristol 8/20 and Loudon 9/25
Best finishes: Win – Bristol 4/17, Richmond 4/24 and Texas 11/6
Last career NSCS win: Texas Motor Speedway on November 6, 2016.
2017 MENCS: Carl Edwards has decided to leave Joe Gibbs Racing and “pursue other interests outside of driving and will not compete in 2017”. He has not ruled out a return to driving in the future but will definitely be skipping the 2017 MENCS season. He avoided using the word “retired” in his interviews. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suarez, the 2016 XFINITY Series Champion, moved up and took over JGR’s No. 19 Toyota Camry for 2017. Dave Rogers remains as crew chief for the No. 19 Cup team.

2016: Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota Camry – In 36 races, the Las Vegas, NV driver scored four wins, two poles, 17 top-5s, 25 top-10s, led 1,379 laps, had a 9.6 average start, an 11.5 average finish, earned 5,035 points and made the 2016 Chase to the Sprint Cup. Busch made it through the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8 events to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. After a sixth place finish in the season-finale at Homestead, he closed out the NSCS season third in the standings. In the XFINITY Series, Busch made 17 starts in JGR’s No. 18 Toyota; averaged a 2.4 start (including nine poles), a 5.5 average finish (including 10 wins) and led 2,052 laps of the 2,918 he completed. Busch also entered four Camping World Truck Series races in his own No. 18 Toyota Tundra; won at Martinsville and Chicago, second at Charlotte and a DNF (wreck) at Kentucky.
Best 2016 NSCS starts: Pole – Phoenix 3/13 and Indianapolis 7/24
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Martinsville 4/3, Texas 4/9, Kansas 5/7 and Indianapolis 7/24
Last career NSCS win: Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2016.
2017 MENCS: Busch signed a multi-year contract to remain at JGR driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry through 2019. Adam Stevens continues as crew chief and sponsors M&M’s, Skittles and Interstate Batteries return as well. Busch will definitely drive at least five truck series races in his own KBM No. 51 Tundra and will pilot JGR’s No. 18 XFINITY Series Toyota in at least 10 NXS events. He will share the NXS ride with Daniel Suarez who is his new Cup series teammate.

2016: Joey Logano – Team Penske No. 22 Ford Fusion - In 36 races, the Middletown, CT driver scored three wins, three poles, 16 top-5s, 26 top-10s, led 703 laps, had an 8.1 average start, a 10.5 average finish, earned 5,037 points and made the 2016 Chase to the Sprint Cup. Logano made it through the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8 events to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. As mentioned above, he and Edwards were involved in a wreck on the restart with about 10 laps to go in the season-finale at Homestead. Logano’s No. 22 Ford was able to continue after the race resumed, finished fourth and closed out the season second in the NSCS standings. Logano also drove Team Penske’s Nos. 12 and 22 Mustangs in 13 XFINITY Series races. He averaged a 6.4 start (including a pole at Watkins Glen) and a 6.5 average finish (including wins at Watkins Glen and Charlotte).
Best 2016 NSCS starts: Pole – Martinsville 4/3, Michigan 6/12 and Michigan 8/28
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Michigan 6/12, Talladega 10/23 and Phoenix 11/13
Last career NSCS win: Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2016.
2017 MENCS: Logano is contracted through 2018 to drive the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Todd Gordon will return as crew chief. Sponsors Shell-Pennzoil and AAA will return as well. Logano will also split driving Penske’s XFINITY Series No. 22 Mustang with Ryan Blaney and Cup teammate Brad Keselowski.

2016: Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet SS - In 36 races, the El Cajon, CA driver scored five wins, one pole, 11 top-5s, 16 top-10s, led 737 laps, had a 12.1 average start, a 14.0 average finish, earned 5,040 points and made the 2016 Chase to the Sprint Cup. He made it through the Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8 events to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. With the win in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami, Johnson clinched the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. This was his record-tying seventh championship, joining Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty as the only 7-time NASCAR Cup Series Champions.
Best 2016 NSCS start: Pole – Loudon 7/17
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Atlanta 2/28, Auto Club 3/20, Martinsville 10/30, Charlotte 10/9 and Homestead 11/20
Last career NSCS win: Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016.
2017 MENCS: Johnson has a contract with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 48 Chevrolet through the 2017 season. Crew chief Chad Knaus is signed through the 2018 season. Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools will return as sponsors as well.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2016: Justin Allgaier – JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro - In 33 races, the Riverton, IL driver scored 13 top-5s, 27 top-10s, led 34 laps, had an 8.7 average start, a 9.1 average finish, earned 4,035 points and made the 2016 NXS Chase. He made it through the Round of 12 and Round of 8 races to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. Allgaier started the Homestead race sixth in the lineup, led six laps and finished sixth to close out the season third in the standings.
Best 2016 NXS start: 1st – Dover 5/14 (not a Pole, lineup set by Heat Races for this event)
Best 2016 finishes: 2nd – Talladega 4/30, Daytona 7/1 and Bristol 8/19
Last career NXS win: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal) on August 18, 2012.
2017: Allgaier will continue to drive the JRM No. 7 Mustang. Sponsorship from Brandt, Hellman’s and Breyers will continue as well. Unless something changes in the next week, Jason Burdet will resume crew chief duties for the No. 7 team.

2016: Elliott Sadler – JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro – In 33 races, the Emporia, VA driver scored three wins, 14 top-5s, 29 top-10s, led 123 laps, had a 9.0 average start, a 6.8 average finish, earned 4,038 points and made the 2016 NXS Chase. He made it through the Round of 12 and Round of 8 races to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. Sadler started the Homestead race second in the lineup, led one lap and finished third to close out the season second in the standings, two points behind Champion Daniel Suarez.
Best 2016 NXS start: 2nd – Homestead 11/19
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Talladega 4/30, Darlington 9/3 and Kentucky 9/24
Last career NXS win: Kentucky Speedway on September 24, 2016.
2017: Sadler continues driving JRM’s No. 1 Camaro. Hunt Brothers Pizza, Dale's Pale Ale and Armour will join returning OneMain Financial as primary sponsors for the team. Kevin Meendering will, again, lead Sadler's team as their crew chief. Sadler will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and XFINITY Series. Tommy Baldwin Racing will field the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet SS with Sadler behind the wheel for the Daytona 500.

2016: Daniel Suarez – Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Camry – In 33 races, the Monterrey, Mexico driver scored three wins, three poles, 19 top-5s, 27 top-10s, led 347 laps, had a 3.9 average start, an 8.0 average finish, earned 4,040 points and made the 2016 NXS Chase. He made it through the Round of 12 and Round of 8 races to start in the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. Suarez dominated the Homestead race. He started on the pole, led 133 laps and won the 200-lap race. He became the first Mexican driver to win a national NASCAR title. The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion also drove the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Tundra in 13 Camping World Truck Series races. He averaged a 7.0 start (including a pole) and a 13.6 average finish (including a win at Phoenix).
Best 2016 NXS starts: Pole – Auto Club 3/19, Iowa 7/30 and Homestead 11/19
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Michigan 6/11, Dover 10/2 and Homestead 11/19
Last career NXS win: Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19, 2016.
2017: As noted above, Carl Edwards will not be competing in the Cup Series this season. Joe Gibbs Racing moved Daniel Suarez up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to take over Edwards’ No. 19 Toyota Camry. He will be competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the MENCS. Dave Rogers will be his crew chief. Sponsors Arris, Stanley and Subway will cover expenses for the No. 19 team. Suarez also plans on running about 10 XFINITY Series races sharing the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota with Cup teammate Kyle Busch.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2016: Christopher BellKyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota Tundra - In 23 races, the Norman, OK driver scored one win, 9 top-5s, 17 top-10s, led 197 laps, had a 9.2 average start, a 9.5 average finish, earned 4,025 points and made the 2016 NCWTS Chase. He made it through the Round of 8, Round of 6 and into the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. After an eighth-place finish at Homestead-Miami, he closed out the season third in the standings. Bell also drove Venturini Motorsports’ Toyotas in five ARCA Racing Series races. He won two races at Salem (IN) Speedway and finished 10th, seventh and third in the other three.
Best 2016 NCWTS starts: 3rd – Atlanta 2/27 and Loudon 9/24
Best 2016 finish: Win – Gateway 6/25
Last career NCWTS win: Gateway Motorsports Park (Madison, IL) on June 25, 2016.
2017: Bell is contracted to run another full season in KBM’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra. Rudy Fugle will be crew chief for the team.

2016: Matt Crafton – ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota Tundra – In 23 races, the Tulare, CA driver scored two wins, one pole, eight top-5s, 16 top-10s, led 446 laps, had a 10.1 average start, a 10.9 average finish, earned 5,026 points and made the 2016 NCWTS Chase. He made it through the Round of 8, Round of 6 and into the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. After a seventh-place finish at Homestead-Miami, Crafton closed out the season second in the standings.
Best 2016 NCWTS start: Pole – Atlanta 2/27
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Dover 5/13 and Charlotte 5/21
Last career NCWTS win: Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21, 2016.
2017: No changes known at this time. Crafton will return to drive the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra again this season with Carl Joiner in the roll of crew chief for the team.

2016: Johnny Sauter – GMS Racing No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado - In 23 races, the Necedah, WI driver scored three wins, one pole, 12 top-5s, 19 top-10s, led 130 laps, had a 9.1 average start, an 8.0 average finish, earned 4,030 points and made the 2016 NCWTS Chase. He made it through the Round of 8, Round of 6 and into the season-finale Chase Championship 4 event. After a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami, Sauter closed out the season as the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion.
Best NCWTS start: Pole – Texas 6/10
Best 2016 finishes: Win – Daytona 2/19, Martinsville 10/29 and Texas 11/4
Last career NCWTS win: Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2016.
2017: After reuniting with former crew chief and longtime friend Joe Shear Jr. in 2016, Johnny Sauter raised the championship trophy. Sauter will return to drive the GMS No. 21 Silverado in 2017 to defend not only his win at Daytona, but his NCWTS Championship as well. He will continue to build on the Sauter-Shear legacy, a history that started in the Midwest with their fathers competing against each other.

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Lineup full-time teams

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

1

Jamie McMurray

Cessna/McDonald’s/

GearWrench

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth/Autotrader

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow//Bass Pro Shops/

American Ethanol/AAA

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/

Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Great Clips/

LiftMaster/Quicken Loans/ Panasonic/Mountain Dew/

AARP/UniFirst

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare/Liberty National/ Performance Plus

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

10

Danica Patrick

Aspen Dental/ TaxACT/Mobil 1/Code 3 Assoc.

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx/Sport Clips

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Ty Dillon *

Geico/Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation/Mobil 1/

Rush Truck Centers

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Fifth Third Bank/

SunnyD

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Skittles/

Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Daniel Suarez *

Arris/Stanley/Sport Clips/Subway

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Matt Kenseth

DeWalt/Tide Pods

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane/SKF

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader/AAA

Ford

Team Penske

23

Joey Gase

Best Home Furnishings (3 races)

Toyota

BK Racing

23

Gray Gaulding *

Schluter-Systems/Dr. Pepper

(33 races)

Toyota

BK Racing

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Auto Parts/3M/Kelley Blue Book/Mountain Dew/SunEnergy1/Hooters

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menards

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar/Grainger

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Can-Am/Keen Parts/Visone RV/E.J. Wade Foundation

Ford

GoFAS Racing

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Starter

Chevrolet

Circle Sport w/TMG

34

Landon Cassill

Love’s Travel Stops/Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

Scott Products/

Cottonelle Mega

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

David Ragan

Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation/Mobil 1/State Water Heaters

 

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Target/CreditOne

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods/U.S. Air Force/

Fresh From Florida/STP

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Scott Products/ Kingsford Charcoal/Bush’s Beans

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

72

Cole Whitt

Florida State Lottery

Ford

TriStar Motorsports

77

Erik Jones *

5-Hour Energy/Sport Clips

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row/Denver Mattresses/Bass Pro Shops/5-Hour Energy/Auto-Owners Insurance/WIX Filters

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

83

Corey LaJoie

Dustless Blasting/JAS Expedited Trucking (14 races)

Toyota

BK Racing

83

Gray Gaulding *

? (2 races)

Toyota

BK Racing

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide/Axalta Coatings/

Diet Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Michael McDowell

K-LOVE Radio/Malwarebytes

Chevrolet

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

* Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

Part-time/Questionable teams

7

Elliott Sadler **

Golden Corral

(Daytona 500 only)

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

15

Michael Waltrip **

 Aaron’s (Daytona 500 only)

Toyota

Premium Motorsports

51

Timmy Hill **

?  (Daytona 500 only)

Chevrolet

Rick Ware Racing

55

Reed Sorenson **

? (Daytona 500 only)

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

55

Derrike Cope **

? (limited schedule)

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

96

D.J. Kennington **

Castrol/Lordco Auto Parts (Daytona 500 only)

Toyota

Gaunt Brothers Racing

 

 

 ** No Charter

 

 

 



Tony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at RotoWorld.com.
Email :Anthony Ballantoni



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