Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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Cup racing returns in 63 days

Sunday, December 17, 2017


During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2017 and what’s ahead for them in 2018. We will look at drivers who finished in the top 30 in points for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2018 plans, follow Rotoworld NASCAR Headlines (www.rotoworld.com/headlines/nas) for the latest updates.

With 63 days to go before the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season-opening Daytona 500, here are a few driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2018 MENCS Driver/Team lineups. Teams listed as full-time plan on running all 36 events and have a NASCAR Charter guaranteeing a start in each race.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS):
2017: Ty Dillon (Germain Racing No. 13 Chevrolet) - In 36 races, the Lewisville, NC driver led 40 laps, had a 26.2 average start, a 20.7 average finish, earned 593 points and closed out the season 24th in the standings. Dillon's best MENCS season start was 14th at Texas (4/9) and best finishes were 11th at Talladega (10/15) and Phoenix (11/21). He has yet to score a win in the MENCS. Dillon also drove the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) No. 3 Chevrolet in 33 XFINITY Series races scoring 16 top-ten finishes and averaging an 11.4 finish. He entered three Truck races finishing fifth (Martinsville-1), 12th (Eldora) and 15th (Martinsville-2).
2018: Dillon has signed a multi-year contract to continue driving the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet for Germain Racing. He will share the No. 3 NXS Chevy with brother Austin Dillon and possibly other drivers. Ty Dillon may also join other drivers in piloting the No. 99 Chevrolet Silverado in the NCWTS as he did in 2017.

2017: Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet) – In 36 races, the Eau Claire, WI driver led five laps, scored two top-5s, three top-10s, had a 21.7 average start, a 19.6 average finish, earned 631 points and closed out the season 23rd in the standings. Menard’s best MENCS season start was ninth at Talladega (5/7) and best finish was third at Daytona (7/1). His last MENCS win was on July 31, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Menard also shared RCR's No. 2 Chevy in XFINITY Series. In seven starts, he scored three top-10s, had a best finish of fifth at Watkins Glen and averaged a 19.1 finish.
2018: Menard left RCR at the end of 2017. He was hired by Wood Brothers Racing to drive the No. 21 Ford sponsored by Menards and Motorcraft. The No. 21 does not have a charter at this time but may purchase (or lease) one of the available unused charters. Greg Irwin has been named crew chief for the team.

2017: Trevor Bayne (Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford) - In 36 races, the Knoxville, TN driver led eight laps, scored two top-5s, six top-10s, had a 21.1 average start, a 19.5 average finish, earned 660 points and closed out the season 22nd in the standings. Bayne’s best MENCS season start was fifth at Talladega-1 (5/7) and best finish was third at Talladega-2 (10/15). His last MENCS win was on February 20, 2011 at Daytona Int'l Speedway.
2018: Bayne is contracted thru 2019 to drive the No. 6 Ford. This season the car will be primarily black (was white). Matt Puccia will continue as crew chief. Major sponsor AdvoCare as well as other sponsors Liberty National Life Insurance and Performance Plus will return.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2017: Harrison Rhodes (JD Motorsports No. 01 Chevrolet) - In 31 races, the High Point, NC driver led two laps, scored one top-10, had a 30.5 average start, a 26.9 average finish, earned 321 points and closed out the season 24th in the standings. Rhodes’ best NXS season start was 20th at Phoenix (3/18) and best finish was 10th at Daytona (2/25). He has yet to score a win in the NXS.
2018: No plans have been announced for Harrison Rhodes in any series at this time. The No. 01 Chevrolet will be piloted by Rookie of the Year contender Vinnie Miller in 2018.
2017: Ben Kennedy (eight races each in the Richard Childress Racing No. 2 and GMS Racing 96 Chevrolets) – In 16 races, the Daytona Beach, FL driver led nine laps, scored one top-five, two top-10s, had a 14.2 average start, an 18.9 average finish, earned 326 points and closed out the season 23th in the standings. Kennedy's best NXS season start was second at Daytona (6/20) and best finish was fourth at Talladega (5/6). He also entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa on 7/28; finished seventh.
2018: No plans announced at this time. The No. 2 Chevy will have Matt Tifft behind the wheel full-time. The No. 96 has yet to announce their plans.

2017: Joey Gase (Jimmy Means Racing No. 52 Chevrolet) – In 33 races, the Cedar Rapids, IA driver scored two top-10s, had a 33.7 average start, a 26.8 average finish, earned 336 points and closed out the season 22nd in the standings. Gase's best NXS season starts were 25th at Phoenix (3/18) and Road America (8/27) and best finish was seventh at Daytona (2/25). Gase also made nine starts in the MENCS for three different teams with a best finish of 21st in the Premium Motorsports No. 15 Chevrolet at Talladega (5/7).
2018: At this time, Gase does not have a ride in 2018. The Jimmy Means No. 52 team announced they will be running full-time but will be searching for a new driver. Nothing announced yet on any of the MENCS teams Gase drove for in 2017.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2017: Josh Reaume (Beaver Motorsports No. 50 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 13 races, the Redlands, CA driver had a 24.8 average start, a 19.8 average finish, earned 223 points and closed out the season 24th in the standings. Reaume’s best NCWTS season start was 20th at Gateway (6/17) and best finishes were 16th at Las Vegas (9/30) and Phoenix (11/10).
2018: Beaver Motorsports plans another full-time schedule with the No. 50 truck. Reaume, Travis Kvapil and Cody Ware shared the ride in 2017 but no word yet on driver lineup for this coming season.

2017: Austin Hill (Young's Motorsports No. 02 Ford F-150) – In 12 races, the Winston, GA driver scored one top-10, had an 18.2 average start, a 17.8 average finish, earned 226 points and closed out the season 23rd in the standings. Hill’s best NCWTS season start was 10th at Pocono (7/29) and best finish was 10th at Kentucky (7/6).
2018: Young's Motorsports announced in November that Hill will be the full-time driver of the No. 02 Chevrolet Silverado (may still run as a Ford in some events). He will be paired with crew chief Chad Kendrick. Hill will also be a teammate to Tyler Young in the organization's who will drive a yet to be numbered second truck.

2017: Myatt Snider (Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota Tundra) – In eight races, the Charlotte, NC driver led 26 laps, scored one top-five, three top-10s, had a 10.5 average start, a 13.4 average finish, earned 227 points and closed out the season 22nd in the standings. He also entered the September ARCA Racing Series race at Chicagoland Speedway driving the Mason Mitchell Chevrolet; started 10th, finished ninth. Snider also fielded his own late model entry part-time in the 13-race CARS tour. In seven starts, he scored two wins, one pole, led 145 laps, averaged a 9.3 finish and closed out that series ranked 13th in points.
2018: KBM has yet to announce driver lineup plans for their Toyota Tundras. No other news on possible rides for Snider at this time.

Tentative 2018 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/Discount Tire/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow/American Ethanol/AAA

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/ Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare/Liberty National

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

9

Chase Elliott

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

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

10

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx/Sport Clips

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Ty Dillon

Geico/Geico Military/Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation/Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Fifth Third Bank/SunnyD/ Ford EcoBoost

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Skittles/Pedigree Dog Food/ Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Daniel Suarez

Arris/Stanley

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Erik Jones

?

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader/AAA

Ford

Team Penske

24 *

William Byron

Liberty University/Axalta/UniFirst

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

?

?

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's/Caterpillar/ Grainger/Liberty National

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Can-Am

Ford

GoFAS Racing

33

?

?

Chevrolet

Circle Sport

34

? Michael McDowell

(May be David Ragan)

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

Scott Products/Kroger/Bush’s Beans/Kleenex/Natural Light

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

? David Ragan

(May be Michael McDowell)

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43 *

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Click n’ Close/Smithfield Foods/U.S. Air Force/STP

Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Scott Products/ Kingsford Charcoal/Bush’s Baked Beans/Louisiana Hot Sauce

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmy Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools/ Jimmie Johnson Foundation

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

Ray Black Jr.

?

?

Rick Ware Racing

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row/Bass Pro Shops/5-Hour Energy/Auto Owners Insurance

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

88

Alex Bowman

Nationwide Insurance

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Kasey Kahne

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

* Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

No Charter Guarantee/Part-time/Questionable

7**

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

12**

Ryan Blaney

Menards/REV Group/Fitzgerald Glider Kits/PPG

Ford

Team Penske

16

?

?

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

21**

Paul Menard

Menards/Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

23

Multiple drivers

?

Toyota

BK Racing

30**

?

?

Chevrolet

The Motorsports Group

44

?

?

Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports

52**

Multiple drivers

?

?

Rick Ware Racing

55**

?

?

Chev/Toyota

Premium Motorsports

66**

David Starr

Eureka Vacuums

Chevrolet

MBM Motorsports

66**

Mark Thompson

Phoenix Air (Daytona only)

Ford

MBM Motorsports

72**

Cole Whitt

?

?

TriStar Motorsports

75**

Brendan Gaughan

Beard Oil/TSS Logistics

Chevrolet

Beard Motorsports

77**

?

?

?

Furniture Row Racing

83**

Multiple drivers

?

Toyota

BK Racing

96**

?

?

Toyota

Gaunt Brothers Racing

 

 

 ** No Charter Guarantee

 

 

 Teams With An Used Charter Available for Lease/Sale

 Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Go Fas Racing and Front Row Motorsports

 

 

Tentative 2018 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/Discount Tire/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow/American Ethanol/AAA

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/ Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare/Liberty National

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

9

Chase Elliott

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

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

10

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx/Sport Clips

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Ty Dillon

Geico/Geico Military/Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation/Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Fifth Third Bank/SunnyD/ Ford EcoBoost

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Skittles/Pedigree Dog Food/ Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Daniel Suarez

Arris/Stanley

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Erik Jones

?

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader/AAA

Ford

Team Penske

24 *

William Byron

Liberty University/Axalta/UniFirst

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

?

?

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's/Caterpillar/ Grainger/Liberty National

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Can-Am

Ford

GoFAS Racing

33

?

?

Chevrolet

Circle Sport

34

? Michael McDowell

(May be David Ragan)

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

Scott Products/Kroger/Bush’s Beans/Kleenex/Natural Light

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

? David Ragan

(May be Michael McDowell)

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43 *

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Click n’ Close/Smithfield Foods/U.S. Air Force/STP

Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Scott Products/ Kingsford Charcoal/Bush’s Baked Beans/Louisiana Hot Sauce

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmy Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools/ Jimmie Johnson Foundation

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

Ray Black Jr.

?

?

Rick Ware Racing

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row/Bass Pro Shops/5-Hour Energy/Auto Owners Insurance

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

88

Alex Bowman

Nationwide Insurance

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Kasey Kahne

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

* Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

No Charter Guarantee/Part-time/Questionable

7**

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

12**

Ryan Blaney

Menards/REV Group/Fitzgerald Glider Kits/PPG

Ford

Team Penske

16

?

?

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

21**

Paul Menard

Menards/Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

23

Multiple drivers

?

Toyota

BK Racing

30**

?

?

Chevrolet

The Motorsports Group

44

?

?

Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports

52**

Multiple drivers

?

?

Rick Ware Racing

55**

?

?

Chev/Toyota

Premium Motorsports

66**

David Starr

Eureka Vacuums

Chevrolet

MBM Motorsports

66**

Mark Thompson

Phoenix Air (Daytona only)

Ford

MBM Motorsports

72**

Cole Whitt

?

?

TriStar Motorsports

75**

Brendan Gaughan

Beard Oil/TSS Logistics

Chevrolet

Beard Motorsports

77**

?

?

?

Furniture Row Racing

83**

Multiple drivers

?

Toyota

BK Racing

96**

?

?

Toyota

Gaunt Brothers Racing

 

 

 ** No Charter Guarantee

 

 

 Teams With An Used Charter Available for Lease/Sale

 Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Go Fas Racing and Front Row Motorsports

 



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



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