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Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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Countdown to the 500: 42 days

Sunday, January 6, 2019


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 42 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: Ryan Blaney (Team Penske No. 12 Ford) - In 36 races, the High Point, NC driver scored one win, three poles, eight top-fives, 16 top-tens, had a 9.4 average start, a 14.8 average finish and led 660 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, continued through the three-race Round of 16, but was eliminated at the end of the three-race Round of 12. He closed out the season 10th in the standings. Blaney's best MENCS season starts were the poles at Las Vegas (3/4), Pocono (6/3) and Texas (11/4). His best finish was the victory at the Charlotte Roval (9/30). Blaney also drove Team Penske's No. 22 Mustang in four XFINITY Series races. He averaged a 3.0 in both starts and finishes, racking up one win (from the pole) at Texas (4/7) and another pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (9/10).
2019: Blaney is signed through 2019 with crew chief Jeremy Bullins returning as well to the No. 12 Ford team. BodyArmour, VF Workwear and MoneyLion confirmed as sponsors for six races. Other sponsors have yet to be announced. Blaney will also take his turn in the Team Penske shared XFINITY Series No. 22 again this season.
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2018: Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet) - In 36 races, the Elk Grove, CA driver scored three poles, 12 top-fives, 19 top-tens, had a 12.8 average start, a 12.6 average finish and led 782 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, continued through the three-race Round of 16, but was eliminated at the end of the three-race Round of 12. He closed out the season ninth in the standings. Larson's best MENCS season starts were the poles at Dover (5/6), Sonoma (6/24) and Bristol (8/18). His best finishes were 2nd place at Auto Club (3/18), Bristol (4/16), Pocono (6/3), Bristol (8/18), Chicago (7/1) and Las Vegas (9/16). His last MENCS victory was on September 9, 2017 at Richmond Raceway. Larson drove Ganassi's No. 42 Camaro in six XFINITY Series races. In two of those races he crashed (Daytona) and blew an engine (Watkins Glen); he won the other four to still log a 10.0 average finish. In three Truck Series events, Larson drove GMS Racing's No. 24 Silverado; won at the Eldora dirt track and finished fourth in the other two races. During the off season in December, Larson entered the Boxing Day Bash dirt track midget race in New Zealand; finished second after starting on the pole.
2019: Larson returns to CGR's No. 42 for another full season with crew chief Chad Johnston returning as well. No firm word on sponsorship for the No. 42 Chevrolet team at this time.
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NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2018: Ross Chastain (JD Motorsports No. 4 Chevrolet for 30 races and Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevy for 3 races) - In 33 races, the Alva, FL driver scored one win, one pole, three top-fives, eight top-tens, had a 17.0 average start, a 15.3 average finish and led 272 laps. Chastain earned a spot in the season playoffs but was eliminated at the end of the three-race Round of 12. He closed out the season 10th in the standings. His best NXS season start was the pole at Darlington (9/1) and best finish was the victory at Las Vegas (9/15). Chastain drove Premium Motorsports No. 15 Chevrolet in 34 Cup Series races; averaged a 28.4 finish with a best of 18th at Texas (4/8). He also drove Chevrolet trucks for various teams in seven Camping World Series events; best finish of 7th at Las Vegas (9/14).
2019: Chastain was contracted to drive Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 42 Camaro full-time for the 2019 NXS schedule but on January 4th, CGR closed down the team due to lack of funding. He was already replaced by Blake Koch in JDM's No. 4 Camaro in which Chastain drove 30 races in 2018. At this time he does not have an NXS ride. Chastain is still listed as the driver of Premium Motorsports No. 15 Chevrolet in the Cup Series but, since he was committed to the XFINTY Series, it is not known whether he will be eligible to collect championship points in the Cup series.
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2018: Brandon Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota) - In 33 races, the Atlanta, GA driver scored one pole, two top-fives, 17 top-tens, had an 11.1 average start, a 13.6 average finish and led 173 laps. Jones earned a spot in the season playoffs but was eliminated at the end of the three-race Round of 12. He closed out the season ninth in the standings. His best NXS season start was the pole at Dover (5/5) and best finish was 2nd at Talladega (4/28). Jones also drove a Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra in five Camping World Truck Series events; best start was 6th at Kentucky (7/12), best finish 3rd at Charlotte (5/18). In the ARCA Racing Series, Jones piloted Mathew Miller's No. 12 Toyota in two races. He won at Charlotte (5/24) and started on the pole at Michigan (6/8) but had to fall out due to an overheating engine.
2019: Jones will return for another full season in the JGR No. 19 Toyota. The only known change at this time is on the pit box. Jeff Meendering returns to JGR to fill in as a replacement for Chris Gabehart as crew chief for the No. 19 team. Gabehart moved up to the Cup series in the same role for Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota team.
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NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS):
2018: Todd Gilliland (Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota Tundra) – In 19 races, the Sherrills Ford, NC driver scored one pole, four top-fives, nine top-tens, had a 6.9 average start, a 12.5 average finish, earned 590 points and closed out the season 10th in the standings. His best truck season start was the pole at Martinsville (10/27) and best finish was 2nd at Gateway (6/23). He drove his family-owned David Gilliland No. 54 Toyota in three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races. He started in the top-five in each event, won at New Smyrna and Bristol and finished (crashed) 14th at Dover. Gilliland also drove a family entry in four ARCA Racing Series events; averaged a 4.2 start and an 8.8 finish.
2019: No firm plans announced yet, but Gilliland is expected to continue as full-time driver of the KBM No. 4 Toyota Tundra this season.
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2018: Myatt Snider (ThorSport Racing No. 13 Ford F-150) – In 23 races, the Charlotte, NC driver scored three top-fives, eight top-tens, had a 15.6 average start, a 14.1 average finish, earned 611 points and closed out the season ninth in the standings. His best truck season start was 3rd at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (8/26) and best finish was 2nd at Talladega (10/13). Snider secured the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. He became the third driver (Willie Allen in 2007 and Johnny Sauter in 2009) to win the title for ThorSport Racing.
2019: No firm plans announced yet, but Snider is listed on ThorSport's website as the No. 13 Ford truck driver again this season.
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Tentative 2019 Cup Series Lineup

 

 

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

00

Landon Cassill

VRX Simulators

Chevrolet

StarCom Racing

1

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy / Cessna

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 /  VF Workwear

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

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.

Bass Pro Shops

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 / AAA So.Cal.

Ford

Team Penske

24

William Byron

Liberty University / Axalta / UniFirst / Hertz

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

32

Corey LaJoie

Schluter Systems / Keen Parts / Corvetteparts.net

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

Daniel Suarez (not firm yet)

Arris (not firm yet)

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank (not firm yet)

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Bubba Wallace

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

Cody Ware

(Multiple Sponsors)

Chevrolet

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 / Procure / Dumont Jets

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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