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Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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Cup racing returns in 62 days

Sunday, December 16, 2018


During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2018 and what’s ahead for them in 2019. We will look at drivers who finished in the top 20 in points for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2019 plans, we will include updates in future columns.
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With 62 days to go until the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are a few driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2019 Cup Driver/Team lineups. Teams listed are those that plan on running all events and have a NASCAR Charter guaranteeing a start in each race.
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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS):
2018: Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet) - In 36 races, the Tucson, AZ driver scored one pole, three top-fives, 11 top-tens, had a 13.1 average start, a 17.0 average finish and led 71 laps. He made it into the season playoffs but was eliminated at the end of the Round of 16. He closed out the season 16th in the standings. Bowman's best MENCS season start was the pole at Daytona (2/18) and best finish was 3rd at Pocono (7/29). His last MENCS win was October 7, 2017 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowman also filled in for Spencer Gallagher at Michigan (6/9) in the XFINITY Series driving the GMS Racing No. 23 Chevrolet; started 10th and finished 21st.
2019: Bowman is contracted thru 2020 in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Greg Ives will continue as the team crew chief. Sponsor Nationwide Insurance extended thru 2020. Axalta and Valvoline will be on board the No. 88 thru 2022.
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2018: Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota) - In 36 races, the Byron, MI driver scored one win, one pole, nine top-fives, 18 top-tens, had a 10.6 average start, a 14.0 average finish and led 99 laps. He made it into the season playoffs but was eliminated at the end of the Round of 16. He closed out the season 15th in the standings. Jones' best MENCS season start was the pole at Las Vegas (9/16) and best finish was the victory at Daytona International Speedway on July 7th. Jones also piloted Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 18 Toyota Tundra in the truck series race at Pocono (7/28); started 31st and finished 2nd.
2019: There does not appear to be any changes in store for Jones in 2019. Same No. 20 team, with Chris Gayle as crew chief and sponsorship from DeWalt, Circle K, Reser's and Sports Clips.
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NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2018: Ryan Sieg (RSS Racing Nos. 39 and 93 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Tucker, GA driver scored two top-tens, had a 19.6 average start, a 19.5 average finish, led three laps, earned 589 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. Sieg's best NXS season start was 10th at Las Vegas (9/15) and best finish was 6th at Talladega (4/28).
2019: No word at this time of any changes, but, since RSS Racing is a Sieg family-owned organization, Ryan will most likely continue piloting the team Chevrolets full-time in next season.
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2018: Jeremy Clements (Jeremy Clements Racing No. 51 Chevrolet) - In 33 races, the Spartanburg, SC driver scored two top-tens, had a 19.3 average start, an 18.9 average finish, led two laps, earned 619 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings. Clements' best NXS season starts were 12th at Texas (4/7) and Las Vegas (9/15). His best finish was 8th at Richmond (4/20). Clements' last series win was on August 27, 2019 at Road America.
2019: No team plan changes plans have been announced. Owner/driver Clements will enter his No. 51 Camaro again for a full-time NXS season. Danny Gill continues as crew chief for the team and sponsors remain the same as well.
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NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS):
2018: Justin Fontaine (Niece Motorsports No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 23 races, the Fletcher, NC driver scored two top-tens, had a 22.9 average start, a 20.3 average finish, led two laps, earned 386 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. His best truck season starts were 17th at Daytona (2/16), Las Vegas (3/2), Kansas (5/11) and Pocono (7/28). His best finish was 9th at Las Vegas (3/2).
2019: In September, Justin Fontaine, citing the stress of his career on his family and lack of sponsorship, stated “barring a major influx of sponsorship funds, I will be indefinitely stepping away from Motorsports competition” after the Camping World Truck Series finale in Miami in November." At this time, no plans have been announced for a replacement driver in the No. 45 Silverado.
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2018: Jordan Anderson (Jordan Anderson Racing No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 22 races, the Forest Acres, SC driver scored two top-tens, had a 23.3 average start, a 19.5 average finish, led five laps, earned 389 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings. Anderson's best truck season starts were 16th at Las Vegas (3/2) and Pocono (7/28. His best finish was 7th at Talladega (10/13).
2019: Anderson is the No. 3 owner/driver and will most likely run another full season without any changes to the organization.
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Tentative 2019 Cup Series Lineup

 

 

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

00

??

VRX Simulators

Chevrolet

StarCom Racing

1

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite / Discount Tire / Alliance Truck Parts / Wurth / REESE / Draw-Tite

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow/American Ethanol/AAA

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer / Jimmie Johns /  Mobil 1 / Hunt Brothers Pizza

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

6

Ryan Newman

AdvoCare / Performance Plus Oil / Wyndham Rewards

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

8

Daniel Hemric - R

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

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

9

Chase Elliott

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

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

10

Aric Almirola

Smithfield / Valley Tech Academy

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

12

Ryan Blaney

BodyArmour / VF Workwear / MoneyLion

Ford

Team Penske

13

Ty Dillon

Geico / Twisted Tea

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

PEAK / BlueDEF / Mobil 1 /  Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

Ross Chastain

??

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

Martin Truex Jr.

ARRIS / Ruckus

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Erik Jones

DEWALT / Reser’s Fine Foods / Sport Clips / Circle K

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Paul Menard

Menards / Motorcraft / Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil / Autotrader / Money/Lion

Ford

Team Penske

24

William Byron

Liberty University / Axalta / UniFirst / Hertz

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

32

??

Can-Am / Keen Parts/Corvetteparts.ne

Ford

GoFAS Racing

34

Michael McDowell

Love's Travel Stops / K-LOVE

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

36

Matt Tifft -R

?

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

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

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

David Ragan

Shriners Hospitals for Children / 100Bulbs.com/Speedco

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

??

Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank / DC Solar

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Bubba Wallace

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

Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

Ryan Preece -R

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

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Ally Financial

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

(Multiple drivers)

(Multiple Sponsors)

Chev/Ford

Rick Ware Racing

52

(Multiple drivers)

(Multiple Sponsors)

Chev/Ford

Rick Ware Racing

72

??

??

Chevrolet

TriStar Motorsports

77

??

??

Chevrolet

Spire Motorsports

88

Alex Bowman

Nationwide Insurance/Axalta/Valvoline

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Matt DiBenedetto

WRL General Contractors / TRD

Toyota

Leavine Family Racing

97

Tanner Berryhill -R

??

Toyota

Obaika Motorsports

 

 

 

 

 

 

R-Rookie of The Year

 

 

 

 



Anthony Ballantoni is a Senior Sports Writer at Rotoworld.com.
Email :Anthony Ballantoni



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