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Look Ahead

Look Ahead: Green Flag in 62

by Anthony Ballantoni
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2015 and what’s ahead for them in 2016. We will look at drivers who scored at least 250 points in the Cup Series and those who earned at least 200 points in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2016 plans, we will include updates in future columns.

With 62 days to go until the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are some driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2016 Sprint Cup Driver/Team lineups.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):
2015
: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing #17 Ford Fusion) - In 36 races, the Olive Branch, MS driver led three laps, scored one top-five, three top-10s, had a 23.6 average start, a 24.3 average finish, earned 712 points and closed out the season 25th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 8th – Bristol 8/22
Best 2015 finish: 4th – Bristol 4/19
Last career NSCS win: None so far.
2016: Stenhouse is contracted thru 2016 in RFR’s #17 Ford Fusion. At this time, Nick Sandler will continue as crew chief for the team. Fastenal and Cargill Beef will continue as primary sponsors.

2015: Danica Patrick (Stewart Haas Racing #10 Chevrolet SS) - In 36 races, the Roscoe, IL driver led seven laps, scored two top-10s, had a 22.4 average start, a 23.5 average finish, earned 716 points, and closed out the season 24th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 11th – Texas 11/8
Best 2015 finish: 7th – Martinsville 3/29
Last career NSCS win: None so far.
2016: Patrick is contracted thru 2018 to drive SHR’s #10 Chevrolet. Bill Scott has been named crew chief to replace Daniel Knost who moved up to a management position at SHR. GoDaddy.com will not return as sponsor but Nature's Bakery will cover 28 races as primary sponsor thru 2017. Aspen Dental, TaxACT and Mobil 1 will sponsor the remaining races.

2015: Casey Mears (Germain Racing #13 Chevrolet SS) - In 36 races, the Bakersfield, CA driver led four laps, scored one top-10, had a 23.9 average start, a 23.1 average finish, earned 754 points and closed out the season 23rd in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 8th – Sonoma 6/28
Best 2015 finish: 6th – Daytona 2/22
Last career NSCS win: Charlotte on May 27, 2007.
2016: Mears and sponsor GEICO have contracted thru 2018 to remain with the Germain Racing #13 Chevrolet team. No changes to the team have been announced at this time.

2015: AJ Allmendinger (JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Chevrolet SS) - In 36 races, the Los Gatos, CA driver led 55 laps, scored two poles, three top-10s, had a 21.6 average start, a 23.1 average finish, earned 758 points and closed out the season 22nd in the standings.
Best 2015 starts: 1st – Sonoma 6/28 and Watkins Glen 8/9
Best 2015 finish: 6th – Las Vegas 3/8
Last career NSCS win: Watkins Glen on August 10, 2014.
2016: Allmendinger signed a long term contract with JTG Daugherty Racing. He will be behind the wheel of the #47 Chevrolet thru at least the 2020 season. Kroger, Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox, Scott Products and Bush's Baked Beans have also renewed primary sponsorship of various races thru the 2017 season. Allmendinger will begin 2016 with a new crew chief. Randall Burnett, who was a race engineer on the #42 Chevrolet team with Kyle Larson for the last two seasons, takes over as crew chief for the #47 team. He replaces Brian Burns who continues at JTG Daugherty in another role.

NSCS UPDATES:
- Chris Heroy, former crew chief for Kyle Larson (#42 Chevrolet) for the past two years, will now take over that responsibility at Richard Petty Motorsports on Brian Scott’s #9 Ford Fusion team.
- Kyle Busch had successful surgery on December 17th to remove two metal plates in his left foot and a metal rod and screws in his right leg.  Busch is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2016 NASCAR season in February.
- Brian Pattie, former crew chief for Clint Bowyer at Michael_Waltrip Racing for the past four seasons, has been named crew chief for Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle (#16 Ford Fusion).  Pattie replaces Matt Puccia who had been paired with Biffle since the middle of 2011.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2015
: Eric McClure (TriStar Motorsports #24 Toyota Camry) - In 33 races, the  Chilhowie, VA driver had a 30.5 average start, a 26.9 average finish, earned 565 points and closed out the season 19th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 24th – Las Vegas 3/7
Best 2015 finish: 17th – Daytona 2/21
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time. McClure will most likely return in TriStar’s #24 Toyota.

2015: Landon Cassill (JD Motorsports #01 Chevrolet Camaro) – In 18 races, the Cedar Rapids, IA driver led four laps, scored two top-10s, had a 23.1 average start, a 22.1 average finish, earned 637 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Cassill also drove Hillman Racing’s #40 Chevrolet SS in 36 Sprint Cup races with a best start of 13th at Loudon (July 19th) and a best finish of 13th at Daytona (July 5th). Hillman Racing fielded the #41 Chevrolet in two K&N Pro Series events with Cassill behind the wheel. He finished eighth in the October K&N East race at Dover and fifth in the November K&N West race at Phoenix.
Best 2015 start: 16th – Bristol 8/21
Best 2015 finish: 8th – Darlington 9/5
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time but Cassill will probably be running another split season between XFINITY Series races with JD Motorsports and some Sprint Cup events in Hillman Racing’s entries. At this time, he will still only collect driver points in the XFINITY Series.

2015: Blake Koch (TriStar Motorsports #8 Toyota Camry) – In 33 races, the W. Palm Beach, FL driver led five laps, had a 24.5 average start, a 24.5 average finish, earned 646 points and closed out the season 17th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 16th – Loudon 7/18
Best 2015 finish: 18th – Daytona 7/4
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time. Koch is still listed as primary driver of TriStar Motorsports’ #8 Camry.

NXS UPDATES:
- Matt Puccia, former crew chief for Greg Biffle in the Sprint Cup Series since the middle of the 2011 season, will remain with Roush Fenway Racing and serve as crew chief for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. (#6 Ford Mustang) in the XFINITY Series in 2016.
- Phil Gould, who spent this past season at Roush Fenway Racing as crew chief for Elliott Sadler, will take over the same role for driver Ryan Reed (#16 Ford Mustang) in the XFINITY Series. Sadler has since moved to JR Motorsports for the 2016 season.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2015
: Jordan Anderson (Mike_Harmon Racing #74 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 17 races, the Forest Acres, SC driver had a 26.3 average start, a 21.7 average finish, earned 379 points and closed out the season 19th in the standings. Anderson also made one XFINITY Series start in Harmon Racing’s #74 Dodge; started 38th, finished 36th.
Best 2015 start: 21st – Pocono 8/1
Best 2015 finish: 13th – Michigan 8/15
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time. Since Anderson drove 17 of the races in Harmon’s #74 truck in 2015, he will probably be returning as the primary driver in this multi-driver entry.

2015: Korbin Forrister (SS Green Light Racing #08 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 22 races, the Cedartown, GA driver had a 24.8 average start, a 23.0 average finish, earned 463 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Forrester also made two XFINITY Series starts with finishes of 31st and 32nd.
Best 2015 start: 12th – Charlotte 5/15
Best 2015 finish: 12th – Daytona 2/20
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time. Forrister is still listed as an SS Green Light Racing driver on the organizations website.

2015: Jennifer Jo Cobb (Cobb Racing #10 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 23 races, the Kansas City, KS driver had a 26.1 average start, a 23.4 average finish, earned 473 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. She also drove her #10 Chevrolet Camaro in a lone XFINITY Series race at Kansas Speedway. She started 40th and completed 138 laps before being involved in a wreck (credited with a 29th place DNF).
Best 2015 Start: 11th – Daytona 2/20
Best 2015 finish: 18th – Daytona 2/20
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2016: Cobb will enter her #10 truck (sometimes switches between Chevrolet, RAM and Ford power) in as many NCWTS races as possible. She will also enter at least one XFINITY Series event. She has entered the NXS race at her home track Kansas Speedway in each of the last four seasons.

NCWTS UPDATES:
- Ben Rhodes signed with ThorSport Racing and will pilot the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra as he competes for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series' championship title in 2016. Kevin Bellicourt, crew chief for 2015 K&N Pro Series East Champion William Byron, has been named crew chief for the #41 team. Rhodes raced the JR Motorsports #88 Chevrolet Camaro in a part-time (10-race) schedule in the 2015 XFINITY Series, earning his first NASCAR national series pole at Road American in just his seventh series start. He also picked up a series-best seventh-place finish in his first series start at Iowa Speedway.

2016 Sprint Cup Lineup - Full-time teams(Tentative)

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

1

Jamie McMurray

Cessna/McDonald’s

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow/Cheerios/Bass Pro Shops/American Ethanol

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/diTech Mortgage

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Great Clips/ LiftMaster/Quicken Loans

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

7

Alex Bowman

Nikko RC/Toy State

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

9

Brian Scott

Shore Lodge/White Tail/Albertson’s

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery/Aspen Dental/TaxACT

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx/Sports Clips

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Casey Mears

Geico

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Tony Stewart

Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1/Code 3 Associates

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

15

Clint Bowyer

5-hour Energy/PEAK/BluDEF

Chevrolet

HScott Motorsports

16

Greg Biffle

Cheez-It

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Zest/Fifth Third Bank/Safety Kleen

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Carl Edwards

Arris/Stanley/Sport Clips/Subway/Comcast

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General/DeWalt

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

Team Penske

23

???

???

Toyota

BK Racing

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Auto Parts/3M/Kelley Blue Book

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

26

???

???

Toyota

BK Racing

27

Paul Menard

Menards

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar/WIX/Grainger

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Bobby Labonte

C&J Energy Services (4 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

32

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Can-Am (11 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

34

Chris Buescher

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

35

???

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

38

???

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

40

???

???

Chevrolet

Joe Falk Racing

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation/State Water Heaters

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Target/Energizer/Coca-Cola/AXE/Clorox

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

46

Michael Annett

Pilot Flying J

Chevrolet

HScott Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Scott Products/Kingsford Charcoal/Bush’s Baked Beans

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

62

???

???

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

83

???

Burger King/Dr. Pepper

Toyota

BK Racing

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide/Axalta Coatings /TaxSlayer.com/Diet Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part-time/Questionable teams

 

 

95

Michael McDowell

K-LOVE/Thrivent Financial

Ford

Leavine Family Racing

98

???

???

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

99

???

???

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

 

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