Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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NASCAR Cup racing in 49 days

Sunday, December 31, 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 49 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: Clint Bowyer (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford) - In 36 races, the Emporia, KS driver scored six top-fives, 13 top-10s, had a 13.2 average start, a 15.5 average finish, led 22 laps, earned 871 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Bowyer's best MENCS season starts were third at Texas (4/9) and Michigan (6/18). His best finishes were second at Bristol (4/24), Sonoma (6/25) and Daytona (7/1). His last MENCS win was at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 13, 2012.
2018: Bowyer will return in the SHR No. 14 Ford. Crew Chief Mike Bugarewicz will also return as well as sponsors Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers and Haas Automation.

2017: Joey Logano (Team Penske No. 22 Ford) – In 36 races, the Middletown, CT driver scored one win, two poles, 10 top-fives, 17 top-10s, had a 12.4 average start, a 15.2 average finish, led 376 laps, earned 930 points and closed out the season 17th in the standings. Logano’s best MENCS season starts were the poles at Phoenix (3/19) and Martinsville (10/29). His best finish was the win a Richmond (4/30). Logano's win was "encumbered" since the team was penalized by NASCAR for unapproved rear-end parts found during post-race inspection. He kept the win but it did not lock him into the Chase playoffs. Logano also shared Penske's No. 22 Ford in the XFINITY Series. In 10 NXS starts, he scored one win, three poles, led 276 laps and had a 7.0 average finish. He drove on the Sonoma road course in a lone NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start; finished 11th.
2018: Logano is contracted thru 2023 to drive the No. 22 Ford. Sponsor Shell-Pennzoil is also going for the ride thru 2023. Todd Gordon continues as crew chief for the team. Logano will also share Penske's No. 22 XFINITY Series entry again in at least six or seven races in 2018.

2017: Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) - In 36 races, the South Bend, IA driver scored one win, seven top-fives, 13 top-10s, had a 17.1 average start, a 15.8 average finish, led 46 laps, earned 2,196 points and was one of the 16 drivers who made it into the playoffs. Newman did not advance into the Chase Round of 12 and closed out the season 16th in the standings. His best MENCS season start was second at Atlanta (3/5) and best finish was the victory at Phoenix (3/19). Newman also made two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Mike Curb's No. 77 Chevrolet. In the July race, he started fourth, led 37 laps but was caught up in a wreck with seven laps to go (finished 23rd). In the September event, he started on the pole and finished ninth.
2018: Newman is signed thru 2018 to drive the No. 31 Chevy. Caterpillar has extended sponsorship thru 2018 as well. Grainger, Liberty National and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's will sponsor some of the races. Luke Lambert will also return as crew chief for the team.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2017: Tyler Reddick (shared the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet) - In 18 races, the Corning, CA driver scored one win, two poles, four top-fives, six top-10s, had a 10.4 average start, a 16.7 average finish, led 87 laps, earned 484 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Reddick’s best NXS season starts were the poles at Kansas (10/21) and Homestead (11/18). His best finish was the victory at Kentucky (9/23).
2018: Reddick has been hired to drive full time for JR Motorsports. Sponsors and car number have yet to be announced. He will likely drive the No. 9 car since William Byron has moved up to the Cup series for 2018.

2017: Dakoda Armstrong (JGL Racing No. 28 Toyota) – In 27 races, the New Castle, IA driver scored two top-fives, three top-10s, had a 23.0 average start, an 18.3 average finish, earned 521 points and closed out the season 17th in the standings. Armstrong's best NXS season start was seventh at Iowa (6/24) and best finish was third at Daytona (6/30). He has yet to win in the NXS. Armstrong brought Winfield sponsorship to the No. 28 team but, due to unpaid sponsorship payments, JGL and Armstrong parted ways after the September Kentucky race. JGL did not field the No. 28 for the rest of the season.
2018: JGL switched from Toyota to Ford for 2018 and will field the No. 24 full-time with Kaz Grala and the No. 28 with multiple drivers. At this time Armstrong has not been announced with any team in any series for 2018.

2017: Brandon Jones (Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet) – In 33 races, the Atlanta, GA driver scored one pole, three top-10s, had a 17.4 average start, a 21.4 average finish, led 11 laps, earned 549 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. Jones' best NXS season start was the pole at Daytona (2/25) and best finishes were ninth at Indianapolis (7/22) and Michigan (6/17). He has yet to win in the NXS. Jones made five starts in the NCWTS driving the Matthew Miller No. 99 Chevrolet Silverado scoring two top-fives and four top-10s. He entered the NASCAR K&N East event at the Watkins Glen road course; finished 11th. Jones also drove Matthew Miller's No. 8 Chevrolet in three ARCA Racing Series races. He started on the pole in all three events and had finishes of second (Pocono), win (Michigan) and third (Chicago).
2018: Jones has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to drive in the XFINITY Series. He will be assigned to the No. 19 Toyota since former driver Matt Tifft has left JGR to drive a Richard Childress Racing's NXS entry. No other plans have been announced for Jones to drive in other series but since he is in a JGR Toyota, the Chevrolet rides may not be available to him in 2018.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2017: Regan Smith (Ricky Benton Racing No. 92 Ford F-150) - In 13 races, the Cato, NY driver, scored two top-10s, had a 19.4 average start, a 14.1 average finish, earned 300 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Smith’s best NCWTS season start was 14th at Texas (11/3) and best finish was sixth at Daytona (2/24). He has yet to win an NCWTS race. Smith drove one XFINITY race for Joe Gibbs Racing. He piloted the No. 18 Toyota at the Mid-Ohio road course; started 14th but got caught up in a wreck with eight to go (DNF 28th). He also subbed for injured Aric Almirola in Richard Petty's No. 43 Ford at two Cup races; best finish was 22nd at Charlotte.
2018: No firm plans in place at this time for 2018 but Smith is still listed as the driver in RBR's No. 92 truck.

2017: Jordan Anderson (18 starts for TJL Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet Silverado and two in Rick Ware's No. 12 Chevy) – In 20 races, the Forest Acres, SC driver had a 24.0 average start, a 21.2 average finish, earned 316 points and closed out the season 17th in the standings. Anderson's best NCWTS season start was 18th at Pocono (7/29) and best finish was 13th in the same race. He has yet to win in the NCWTS.
2018: No firm plans yet on the TJL Motorsports team schedule or if Anderson will return as the driver. His plans in any series are not known at this time as well.

2017: Wendell Chavous (Premium Motorsports No. 49 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 21 races, the Hephzibah, GA driver had a 25.1 average start, a 20.4 average finish, led two laps, earned 348 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. Chavous' best NCWTS season start was 16th at Las Vegas (9/30) and his best finish was 14th in the same race.
2018: No firm plans yet, but Chavous is still listed as driver of the No. 49 truck this coming season.

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 / Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

Mobil 1 / Rush Truck Centers / Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal / Fifth Third Bank / SunnyD

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s / Skittles / Snickers /  Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Daniel Suarez

ARRIS / Stanley / PEAK

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Erik Jones

DeWalt

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil / Autotrader / AAA

Ford

Team Penske

24

William Byron - R

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

Love's Travel Stops

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

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

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

David Ragan

?

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.- R

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

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s / Kobalt Tools / Jimmie Johnson Foundation

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

Ray Black Jr. - R

?

?

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 / Axalta

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Kasey Kahne

WRL General Contractors/Procore

Chevrolet

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

R - Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

No Charter Guarantee/Part-time/Questionable

00

Derrike Cope

StarCom

Chevrolet

StarCom Racing

7

?

?

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

12

Ryan Blaney

Menards / REV Group / Fitzgerald Glider Kits / PPG

Ford

Team Penske

16

? (CH)

?

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

 

 

 (CH) - HAS a Charter Guarantee

 

 

 Teams With An Used Charter Available for Lease/Sale

 Roush Fenway Racing, Go Fas Racing and Front Row Motorsports

 

 



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



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