Anthony Ballantoni

Look Ahead

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Daytona 500 in just 45 days

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2016 and what’s ahead for them in 2017. We will look at drivers who finished in the top 40 in the Sprint Cup Series (becomes the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017) point standings and those who ended the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series standings in the top 30 in points. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2017 plans, follow Rotoworld NASCAR Headlines for the latest updates.

With 45 days to go until the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are a few of the driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2017 Cup driver/team lineups.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):
2016:
Ryan Blaney – Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford Fusion - In 36 races, the High Point, NC driver led 11 laps, scored three top-5s, nine top-10s, had a 14.9 average start, an 18.5 average finish, earned 812 points and closed out the season 20th in the standings. Blaney also drove Team Penske’s Nos. 12 and 22 Ford Mustangs in eight XFINITY Series races; led 23 laps, averaged a 6.5 start, an 8.1 finish with bests of 3rd at Mid-Ohio and Kentucky.
Best 2016 NSCS start: 4th – Bristol 8/20
Best finishes: 4th – Michigan 8/28 and Chicago 9/18
Last career NSCS win: None so far.
2017: Wood Brothers has leased the NASCAR charter from GoFas Racing (No. 32 Ford) for the No. 21 Ford to use in 2017. This gives Blaney a guarantee start in all races. Sponsors and crew chief Jeremy Bullins return to No. 21 team as well.

2016: AJ Allmendinger – JTG-Daugherty Racing No.  47 Chevrolet SS - In 36 races, the Los Gatos, CA driver led 29 laps, scored two top-5s, nine top-10s, had a 17.2 average start, a 17.8 average finish, earned 830 points and closed out the season 19th in the standings.
Best 2016 NSCS start: 2nd – Sonoma 6/26
Best 2016 finish: 2nd – Martinsville 4/3
Last career NSCS win: Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014.
2017: Allmendinger has signed on long-term (thru 2020) to drive the No. 47 Chevrolet. His 2016 sponsors and crew chief Randall Burnett will continue this season on the No. 47. JTG Daugherty has expanded to two teams. Chris Buescher, driving the No. 37 Chevy, will be Allmendinger’s new teammate this season.

2016: Ryan Newman – Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet SS - In 36 races, the South Bend, IN driver, led 24 laps, scored two top-5s, 10 top-10s, had a 14.1 average start, a 15.7 average finish, earned 895 points and closed out the season 18th in the standings. Newman also entered three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in Mike Curb’s Nos. 7 and 77 Chevrolets (two at Loudon, one at Bristol). He averaged a 7.0 finish in those events.
Best 2016 NSCS starts: 3rd – Loudon 9/25 and Homestead 11/20
Best 2016 finish: 3rd – Kentucky 7/9
Last career NSCS win: Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2013.
2017: Newman extended his contract beyond 2017 with Richard Childress Racing to drive the No. 31 Chevrolet. Sponsors Caterpillar and Grainer will return as well as crew chief Luke Lambert.

2016: Kasey Kahne – Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet SS - In 36 races, the Enumclaw, WA driver scored three top-5s, 13 top-10s, had a 16.9 average start, a 15.6 average finish, earned 898 points and closed out the season 17th in the standings. Kahne also drove JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro in the XFINITY Series season-opener at Daytona. He started 15th and finished in third place.
Best 2016 NSCS start: 2nd – Martinsville 4/3
Best 2016 finish: 3rd – Charlotte 10/9
Last career NSCS win: Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014.
2017: Kahne is signed thru 2018 to return to Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevy. Sponsorship continues and it appears crew chief Keith Rodden will return as well. Kahne has also committed to sharing the JR Motorsports No.  88 Camaro in select XFINITY Series races with team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2016
: Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements Racing No. 51 Chevrolet Camaro - In 33 races, the Spartanburg, SC driver led seven laps, scored one top-5, three top-10s, had a 20.0 average start, a 29.0 average finish, earned 693 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings.
Best 2016 NXS starts: 12th – Bristol 8/19 and Richmond 9/9
Best 2016 finish: 4th – Talladega 4/30
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2017: No plans announced at this time but Clements will most likely run another full XFINITY Series season in the family-owned No. 51 Camaro.

2016: J.J. Yeley – TriStar Motorsports No. 44 Toyota Camry – In 32 races, the Phoenix, AZ driver led five laps, scored three top-10s, had a 20.8 average start, a 19.0 average finish, earned 706 points and closed out the season 14th in the standings. Yeley also drove the SS Green Light Racing No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado in the February truck race at Atlanta; started 26th, finished 24th.
Best 2016 NXS start: 10th – Talladega 4/30
Best 2016 finish: 8th – Dover 10/2
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2017: No firm plans at this time from TriStar Motorsports on their 2017 driver lineup.

2016: Dakoda Armstrong – JGL Racing No. 28 Toyota Camry – In 33 races, the New Castle, IN driver scored one top-5, one top-10, had a 20.8 average start, a 19.2 average finish, earned 718 points and closed out the season 13th in the standings. He also drove the Venturini Motorsports No. 15 Toyota in the ARCA race at Winchester (IN) Speedway; started 9th and finished 9th.
Best 2016 NXS start: 3rd – Iowa 7/30
Best 2016 finish: 5th – Iowa 7/30
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2017: Armstrong will continue driving the JGL No. 28 Winfield Toyota this season.  The team will again be led by crew chief Steven Lane and will continue to utilize Joe Gibbs Racing engines.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2016
: Austin Wayne Self – AM Racing No. 22 Toyota Tundra - In 22 races, the Austin, TX driver led one lap, scored one top-10, had a 24.2 average start, a 20.4 average finish, earned 279 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings.
Best 2016 NCWTS start: 18th – Texas 6/10
Best 2016 finish: 9th – Eldora 7/20
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2017: AM Racing has announced that Self will return as the driver of their No. 22 Tundra carrying AM Technical Solutions sponsorship. Rick Ren will continue as crew chief for the team.

2016: Ben Rhodes – ThorSport Racing No. 41 Toyota Tundra – In 23 races, the Louisville, KY driver led 55 laps, earned one pole, scored two top-5s, five top-10s, had a 9.7 average start, a 15.9 average finish, earned 387 points and closed out the season 14th in the standings.
Best 2016 NCWTS starts: Pole – Martinsville 4/2 (also started 1st at Gateway on 6/25; no time trials, field set by practice speeds)
Best 2016 finish: 2nd – Gateway 6/25
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2017: No plans announced at this time but Rhodes is still listed as driver of the ThorSport No. 41 truck on their website.

2016: Rico Abreu – ThorSport Racing No. 98 Toyota Tundra - In 23 races, the St. Helena, CA driver led one lap, scored two top-5s, five top-10s, had an 18.5 average start, a 15.9 average finish, earned 395 points and closed out the season 13th in the standings.
Best 2016 NCWTS start: 3rd – Phoenix 11/11
Best 2016 finish: 3rd – Eldora 7/20
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2017: No 2017 plans announced at this time. As of December 30th, Abreu stated he was “still in negotiations with ThorSport Racing. We just have to figure it out.”
Update: Announced January 12: Rico Abreu will not return to full-time competition in the NCWTS with ThorSport Racing this season. Although Abreu tried to get a deal worked out for 2017, securing sponsorship was a challenge.

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Lineup full-time teams(Tentative)

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

1

Jamie McMurray

Cessna/McDonald’s/

GearWrench

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth/Autotrader

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow//Bass Pro Shops/

American Ethanol/AAA

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/

Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Great Clips/

LiftMaster/Quicken Loans/ Panasonic/Mountain Dew/

AARP/UniFirst

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare/Liberty National/ Performance Plus

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery/Aspen Dental/ TaxACT/Mobil 1/Code 3 Assoc.

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx/Sport Clips

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Ty Dillon *

Geico

Chevrolet

Germain Racing

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation/Mobil 1

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Fifth Third Bank/

SunnyD

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Skittles/

Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Daniel Suarez *

Arris/Stanley/Sport Clips/Subway

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Matt Kenseth

DeWalt

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane/SKF

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil/Autotrader/AAA

Ford

Team Penske

23

Joey Gase

Best Home Furnishings (3 races)

Toyota

BK Racing

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Auto Parts/3M/Kelley Blue Book/Mountain Dew/SunEnergy1

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menards

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar/Grainger

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Can-Am/Keen Parts

Ford

GoFAS Racing

33

?

???

Chevrolet

Circle Sport w/TMG

34

Landon Cassill

Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

37

Chris Buescher

Kroger

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

38

David Ragan

Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation/Mobil 1

 

Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Target/CreditOne

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods/U.S. Air Force

Ford

Richard Petty 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

77

Erik Jones *

5-Hour Energy

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row/

Denver Mattresses/Bass Pro Shops/5-Hour Energy

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

83

?

?

Toyota

BK Racing

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide/Axalta Coatings/

Diet Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

95

Michael McDowell

?

Chevrolet

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

* Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

Part-time/Questionable teams

7

Regan Smith

Nikko RC/Toy State

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

16

**

 

 

Roush Fenway Racing

30

**

???

Chevrolet

The Motorsports Group

44

**

 

 

Richard Petty Motorsports

55

**

?

?

Premium Motorsports

98

**

?

?

Premium Motorsports

 

 

 ** No Charter

 

 



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



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