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Joey Logano
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Look Ahead

The Daytona 500: Just two weeks from today

by Anthony Ballantoni

During the off-season, Look Ahead gave a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2018 and what’s ahead for them in 2019. We looked at drivers who finished in the top 20 in points for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Gander Outdoors (formerly the Camping World) Truck Series. Since a few teams have yet to firm up their 2019 plans, follow NASCAR Headlines and "Player" News on this screen for the latest driver updates.
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With 14 days to go until the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are the final nine 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: Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford) - In 36 races, the Bakersfield, CA native scored eight wins, four poles, 23 top-fives, 29 top-tens, had an 8.8 average start, an 8.8 average finish and led 1,990 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, continued through the 3-race Round of 16, the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harvick closed out the season third in the standings after a third place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400. His best MENCS season starts were the poles at Talladega (4/29), Kansas (5/12), Richmond (9/22) and Phoenix (11/11). His best finishes were the victories at Atlanta (2/25), Las Vegas (3/4), Phoenix (3/11), Dover (5/6), Kansas (5/12), Loudon (7/22), Michigan (8/12) and Texas (11/4). Harvick drove the Biagi-DenBeste Racing No. 98 Ford Mustang in five XFINITY Series events; averaged an 11.8 finish including a victory at Atlanta (2/24). He also entered one NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at his hometown (Bakersfield) track. Started on the pole, led a race-high 132 laps and finished the 175-lap event in fourth place.
2019: Harvick is contracted through at least 2019 in SHR's No. 4 Ford. Rodney Childers will be back as Harvick's crew chief. Busch Beer, Jimmy Johns, Mobil 1 and Hunt Brothers are primary sponsors for this season.
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2018: Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota) - In 36 races, the Mayetta, NJ native scored four wins, four poles, 20 top-fives, 21 top-tens, had a 9.9 average start, a 10.7 average finish and led 1,016 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, continued through the 3-race Round of 16, the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex closed out the season runner-up in the standings after a second place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400. His best MENCS season starts were the poles at Phoenix (3/11), Auto Club (3/18), Richmond (4/21) and Kentucky (7/14). His best finishes were the victories at Auto Club (3/18), Pocono (6/3), Sonoma (6/24) and Kentucky (7/14).
2019: At the end of 2018, Furniture Row Racing closed shop and will not continue it's racing program. Truex transitioned to Joe Gibbs Racing and replaced Daniel Suarez in the JGR No. 19 Toyota Camry. Suarez moved to Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 41 Ford for 2019. Cole Pearn, Truex's crew chief at FRR, moved to JGR as well and will continue in that role with the No. 19 team. Bass Pro Shops will continue its long partnership with Martin Truex Jr. covering 24 races in 2019. Auto-Owners Insurance will sponsor eight more races.
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2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion: Joey Logano
2018: Joey Logano (Team Penske No. 22 Ford) - In 36 races, the Middletown, CT native scored three wins, one pole, 13 top-fives, 26 top-tens, had a 9.8 average start, a 10.7 average finish and led 934 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, continued through the 3-race Round of 16, the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Logano closed out the season as the 2018 MENCS Champion after winning the Ford EcoBoost 400. His best MENCS season start was the pole at Kansas Speedway (10/21). His best finishes were the victories at Talladega (4/29), Martinsville (10/28) and Homestead (11/18). Logano entered five XFINITY Series races; one win, one pole, three top-fives and five top-tens.
2019: Logano is contracted through 2023 along with Shell/Pennzoil as his primary sponsor of the No. 22 Ford. Todd Gordon will continue as Logano's crew chief for the seventh year. AAA Southern California and Autotrader.com are also returning as primary sponsors.
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NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2018: Daniel Hemric (Richard Childress Racing No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, Hemric scored four poles, 16 top-fives, 23 top-tens, had an 8.0 average start, a 9.0 average finish and led 440 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, made it through the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hemric closed out the season third in the standings after a fourth place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300. His best NXS season starts were the poles at Daytona (2/17), Talladega (4/28), Dover (10/6) and Kansas (10/20). His best finishes were 2nd place at Michigan (6/9), Kentucky (7/13), Kansas (10/20 and Phoenix (11/10). Hemric also made two Cup starts in RCR's No. 8 Chevrolet; best finish was 23rd at the Charlotte Roval road course.
2019: Hemric advanced to the Cup Series driving RCR's No. 8 Chevrolet ZL1. He replaces Ryan Newman who has moved to Roush Fenway Racing (No. 6 Ford). The team has switched numbers from the No. 31 to the No. 8. Hemric, a Kannapolis, NC native, continues the long tradition of other Kannapolis natives (three generations of the Earnhardt family) who have driven the No. 8 on the racetrack. Luke Lambert will lead the team as crew chief. Caterpillar, Liberty National Life Insurance, Bass Pro Shops and Cessna will be sponsors.
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2018: Cole Custer (Stewart Haas Racing No. 00 Ford Mustang) - In 33 races, the Ladera Ranch, CA native scored one win, six poles, 14 top-fives, 26 top-tens, had a 5.9 average start, a 9.0 average finish and led 389 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, made it through the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Custer closed out the season second in the standings after leading a race-high 95 laps and finishing second in the 200-lap Ford EcoBoost 300. His best NXS season starts were the poles at Bristol (4/14), Richmond (4/20), Pocono (6/2), Kentucky (7/13), Las Vegas (9/15) and Homestead (11/17). His best finish was the victory at Texas Motor Speedway (11/17). Custer also made three Cup Series starts in Rick Ware Racing's No. 51 Ford; best finish 25th at Las Vegas.
2019: Custer returns full-time in SHR's No. 00 Mustang. His 2018 crew chief, Jeff Meendering, left SHR and is now crew chief for Brandon Jones's NXS No. 19 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing. Haas Automation will continue as primary sponsor of the No. 00.
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2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion: Tyler Reddick
2018: Tyler Reddick (JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro) - In 33 races, the Corning, CA native scored two wins, seven top-fives, 20 top-tens, had an 11.7 average start, a 12.9 average finish and led 184 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs, made it through the 3-race Round of 12 and the 3-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Reddick closed out the season as the 2018 NXS Champion after winning the Ford EcoBoost 300. His best NXS season start was second at Chicago (6/30). His best finishes were the season bookend victories; the opener at Daytona (2/17) and the finale at Homestead-Miami (11/17). Reddick was also awarded the NXS 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. He is the third in series history to win the championship in his Sunoco rookie season joining Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017).
2019: During the playoffs, Reddick and JR Motorsports mutually agreed he had a clearer path to advance to the Cup series in a different NXS team in 2019. He joined Richard Childress Racing to pilot their No. 2 Camaro, replacing Daniel Hemric who moved up to the Cup Series with RCR. Reddick plans on defending his NXS Championship while also expecting a few Cup Series starts with RCR. It was just announced yesterday that he will be attempting the 2019 Cup Series Daytona 500 in RCR's No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
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NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS):
2018: Justin Haley (GMS Racing No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 23 races, the Winamac, IN native scored three wins, nine top-fives, 18 top-tens, had a 9.7 average start, an 8.9 average finish and led 60 laps. Haley earned a spot in the season playoffs and made it through the three-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Haley closed out the season third in the standings after an eighth place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 200. Haley's best truck season start was 2nd at Phoenix (11/9). His best finishes were the victories at Gateway (6/23), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (8/26) and Texas (11/2).
2019: On December 1st, Matt Kaulig announced Justin Haley was signed to a multi-year deal to drive the Kaulig Racing No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro in the 2019 XFINITY Series. He replaced Ryan Truex who will be running partial 2019 schedules in the Cup Series (Tommy Baldwin Racing) and the XFINITY Series (JR Motorsports). Chris Rice will continue as crew chief for Haley's No. 11 Camaro. Haley will be contending for the NXS Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
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2018: Noah Gragson (Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Toyota Tundra) – In 22 races, the Las Vegas, NV native scored one win, six poles, eight top-fives, 17 top-tens, had a 4.6 average start, an 8.5 average finish and led 625 laps. Gragson missed one race (Pocono 7/28) due to an illness. He earned a spot in the season playoffs and made it through the three-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gragson closed out the season second in the standings after a third place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 200. His best truck season starts were the poles at Dover (5/4), Kansas (5/11), Chicago (6/29), Kentucky (7/12), Las Vegas (9/14) and Phoenix (11/9). His best finish was the victory at Kansas Speedway (5/11). He was also voted the 2018 Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver. Gragson was busy in several other series. ARCA: 2 starts; pole, best finish 7th. K&N East: 2 starts; pole, best finish 3rd. Pinty's: 3rd at Bowmanville. NXS: 3 starts; finished 2nd, 4th and 7th. During the off-season, in his final race for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Gragson won the Super Late Model Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
2019: When Elliott Sadler retired from NASCAR competition at the end of 2018, Noah Gragson was hired by JR Motorsports to fill the open spot in their XFINITY Series lineup. He will be driving the No. 9 Camaro (was the No. 1 prior to JRM's recent number shuffle to bring back the iconic Earnhardt No. 8). Gragson will have help from crew chief Dave Elenz atop the pit box as he will also be a contender for the NXS Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
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2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion: Brett Moffitt
2018: Brett Moffitt (Hattori Racing Enterprises No. 16 Toyota Tundra) – In 23 races, the Grimes, IA native scored six wins, 13 top-fives, 13 top-tens, had an 11.7 average start, an 8.9 average finish and led 269 laps. He earned a spot in the season playoffs and made it through the three-race Round of 8. He was one of the four drivers competing in the season-ending Championship Four event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Moffitt closed out the season as the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion after leading a race-high 59 laps and winning the 134-lap Ford EcoBoost 200. His best truck season start was 4th at Texas (11/2). His best finishes were the victories at Atlanta (2/24), Iowa (6/16), Chicago (6/29), Michigan 8/11), Phoenix (11/9) and Homestead (11/16). Hattori Racing fielded a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry for Moffitt at the Watkins Glen road course on August 3rd. He started 21st in the 25-car lineup and won the event.
2019: Due to sponsorship considerations, Moffitt was let go by Hattori Racing at the end of 2018 and replaced by Austin Hill who had sponsorship to cover the No. 16 truck. GMS Racing hired Moffitt to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado in the 2019 truck season. Crew chief Jerry Baxter will assist Moffitt in defending his truck series championship title.
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2019 Cup Series Lineup

 

 

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

00

Landon Cassill

VRX Simulators

Chev

StarCom Racing

1

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy / Cessna / GearWrench

Chev

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

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

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow / Liberty National / American Ethanol / AAA

Chev

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

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

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

6

Ryan Newman

Wyndham Rewards / Oscar Mayer

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

8

Daniel Hemric - R

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

Chev

Richard Childress Racing

9

Chase Elliott

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

Chev

Hendrick Motorsports

10

Aric Almirola

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

Chev

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

PEAK / BlueDEF / Mobil 1 /  Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

Ross Chastain

(Not announced)

Chev

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 / Auto-Owners Insurance

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Erik Jones

DeWalt / Reser’s Fine Foods / Sport Clips / Circle K / Craftsman

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

Chev

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

(Not announced)

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

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

Chev

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

David Ragan

Shriners Hospitals for Children / 100Bulbs.com/Speedco

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Daniel Suarez

Arris / Haas Automation

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank (not firm yet)

Chev

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Bubba Wallace

World Wide Technology  / U.S. Air Force / STP / Alsco / Plan B Sales

Chev

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

Ryan Preece -R

Kroger / ClickList

Chev

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Ally Financial

Chev

Hendrick Motorsports

51

(Multiple drivers)

Jacob Companies

Chev/Ford

Rick Ware Racing

52

Cody Ware

(Multiple Sponsors)

Chev

Rick Ware Racing

72

(Not announced)

(Not announced)

Chev

TriStar Motorsports

77

Quin Houff

(Half season driver)

Chev

Spire Motorsports

88

Alex Bowman

Nationwide Insurance / Axalta / Valvoline / Eastman/Llumar

Chev

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Matt DiBenedetto

WRL General Contractors / Procure / Dumont Jets

Toyota

Leavine Family Racing

97

Tanner Berryhill -R

(Not announced)

Toyota

Obaika Motorsports

 

 

 

 

 

 

R-Rookie of The Year

 

 

 

 

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