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Races  that Love's Travel Stops is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 2017:
Daytona - 2/26
Las Vegas - 3/12
Auto Club - 3/26
Texas - 4/9, WinStar World Casino
Talladega - 5/7
Dover - 6/4
Sonoma - 6/25
Daytona - 7/1
Kentucky - 7/8
Pocono - 7/30
Bristol - 8/19
Charlotte - 10/7
Talladega - 10/15
Kansas - 10/22
Texas - 11/5
Phoenix - 11/12
Homestead - 11/19
Races  that Starkey Hearing Foundation is scheduled / has been the primary sponsor in 2017:
Phoenix - 3/19
Races [?] that CSX Transportation is scheduled / has been the primary sponsor in 2017:
Atlanta - 3/5
Bristol - 4/23, Trees for Tracks
Races [?] that FR8Auctions is scheduled / has been the primary sponsor in 2017:
Martinsville - 4/2
Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: Love Travel Stops 2017?; CSX 2017?
#34 Team / Driver News
CSX and Cassill Promote 'Trees for Tracks' at Bristol Landon Cassill's yellow and blue #34 CSX "Play It Safe" Ford will have a splash of green added for Earth Day this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The #34 Fusion will promote CSX's "Trees for Tracks" program, in which the transportation company aims to plant 42,000 trees by 2018. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad initially launched "Trees for Tracks" in 2009 with the goal of planting 21,000 trees - one for every mile of its track in the United States. After reaching that milestone, CSX extended the effort by doubling its goal. In addition to including "Trees for Tracks" messages on the #34 Ford, CSX will also produce a limited-edition Cassill autograph card printed on seed paper to promote tree planting.(Front Row Motorsports)[More](4-20-2017)
Front Row Motorsports undecided on use of third charter: Front Row Motorsports is still "weighing that out" when it comes to potentially expanding to a third car next season. "Obviously, expanding to another team is a big undertaking, not just in dollars but space, people, all of that," Freeze told RACER. "We're certainly not - I think - planning on it right now, today. It's in the back of my mind, for sure."[More](4-1-2017)
Fr8Auctions sponsoring Cassill at Martinsville: Fr8Auctions, an Atlanta-based auction house that sells excess freight inventory, will partner for a third straight year with Front Row Motorsports when it sponsors Landon Cassill's #34 Ford in this weekend's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Fr8Auctions partners with freight lines, distribution companies and consumer product-based businesses to help sell excess, discontinued or damaged inventory outside of traditional distribution channels.[More](3-28-2017)
Starkey Hearing Foundation sponsoring Cassill at Phoenix: Starkey Hearing Foundation is excited to announce that they are teaming up with Front Row Motorsports and NASCAR driver Landon Cassill to #RaceforChange on March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway for the Camping World 500.[More](3-14-2017)
More sponsorship on the horizon for Front Row? David Ragan had only been gone from Front Row Motorsports for about two years, but when he returned in the offseason, he found a much different - and better - organization. "Absolutely. Yes, this is a very different Front Row team than I was a part of in 2012, 2013 and 2014. They have a great engineering relationship with Roush Fenway Racing. "[More](2-25-2017)
Front Row buys charter from BK Racing, leases it to TriStar: Front Row Motorsports completed the purchase of a Charter Member Agreement from BK Racing to give the team three guaranteed entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. NASCAR transferred ownership of the charter, which was used by BK Racing's #83 team in 2016, on December 6. Front Row Motorsports will lease the newly acquired charter to TriStar Motorsports for the 2017 season as FRM prepares to expand to three chartered cars in 2018. The Bob Jenkins-owned team currently fields two entries with NASCAR charters, the #34 driven by Landon Cassill and the #38 of David Ragan. The organization has steadily grown since its full-time entry into the series in 2009, earning its second win and first playoff berth in 2016. The team will focus on building on those accomplishments with its two existing cars in 2017 as it prepares its infrastructure for expansion in 2018.(Front Row Motorsports)(2-3-2017)
Spotter changes in 2017: Monday evening Fox Sports' Alan Cavana tweeted a list of known spotter changes in the Cup series this season:
#20-Matt Kenseth - Jason Hedlesky
#41-Kurt Busch - Tony Raines
#77-Erik Jones - Rick Carelli
#34-Landon Cassill - Freddie Kraft
AND: As previously announced, Kenseth's former spotter, Chris Osborne, will work with #19-Daniel Suarez.(2-1-2017)
Love's Travel Stops renews sponsorship with Front Row Motorsports: Love's Travel Stops will extend its successful partnership with Front Row Motorsports into the 2017 season, joining Landon Cassill and the #34 team for 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The familiar yellow and red colors of the Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company will return to the #34 Ford for a half-season schedule that includes the Daytona 500, both races at the company's home track of Texas Motor Speedway, the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway and the Bristol Night Race. The 2017 season will be the fifth straight season that Love's has partnered with Front Row Motorsports. The company has progressively grown its NASCAR marketing program in partnership with the team over the past four seasons, incorporating its employees, customers and business partners into its success. Love's Travel Stops is family-owned and operated with more than 400 locations in 40 states. During its 50-plus years of sharing the road with drivers, Love's has grown to become one of America's favorite travel stops offering clean, modern facilities stocked with fuel, food and supplies for travelers.(Front Row Motorsports)(1-24-2017)
Cassill returning to Front Row Motorsports; Ragan rejoining team: Front Row Motorsports will have two familiar faces behind the wheels of its racecars in 2017. Landon Cassill will return to the team and drive the #34 Ford after an impressive first season with the team in 2016. David Ragan, who drove for the Statesville-based organization from 2012 to 2015 and earned its first win, will rejoin the team to drive the #38 Ford. The team will continue its technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing and its engine program with Roush Yates Engines.
The 27-year-old Cassill earned seven top-20 finishes in his first season with Front Row. One of the series' steadiest and most reliable competitors, he completed 98 percent of the laps run and was the only premier series driver in 2016 to finish the season with just a single DNF (Did Not Finish). The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native will enter his eighth year competing in NASCAR's premier series.
Ragan is a 10-year veteran of the series who made history for Front Row Motorsports in 2013 when he charged through the front of the field on the final lap to win at Talladega Superspeedway, sending owner Bob Jenkins and his team to Victory Lane for the first time. The 30-year-old Unadilla, Ga., native owns two premier series wins, 15 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes, and two poles.
The team's 2017 partnerships will be announced soon.(Front Row Motorsports)(12-16-2016)
Buescher ready for transition to JTG Daugherty: Having his 2017 plans in place eases much concern but Chris Buescher, 16th in points for 2016, said there are "still a lot of moving pieces floating around." Some are comparable to what he faced heading into this past season when he transitioned from the XFINITY Series; others are entirely different. "It's actually really similar to this year with Front Row," Buescher said of the situation with JTG Daugherty. "This year with Front Row was a loan as well. It was a little bit easier with the (technical) alliance that Front Row and Roush have with the manufacturer (Ford) being the same." However, JTG Daugherty Racing fields Chevrolet entries and enjoys a technical alliance with the three-team Richard Childress Racing organization. RCR provides engines through Earnhardt-Childress Racing as well as engineering support. "There are some unknowns to work through," Buescher said. "But I'm still under contract with Roush Fenway." Team personnel and other aspects of the new entity have yet to be announced. Cars won't be on the track for competition until February. Until then, Buescher said he will be looking over notes from the previous season in an attempt to better understand what worked, what didn't, and why.(NASCAR.com)(12-9-2016)
Newmark discusses Roush Fenway's plans: The decline in performance at Roush Fenway Racing is best expressed in one stark statistic. In 2005, half the Chase field consisted of Roush Fenway drivers -- when there were only 10 drivers in the Chase. In 2016, there were no RFR entries in a 16-driver Chase field. How does that happen? RFR has been asking itself the same question while attempting to right the ship. Once the dominant organization in the Ford camp, Roush will drop to third in the pecking order upon the arrival of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017.
RFR President Steve Newmark called the downsizing at RFR a strategic move - albeit an extremely tough decision. The company considered more than a dozen options before arriving at its current organizational chart. "The whole goal and the whole objective of doing whatever we did is to make sure we would improve our performance and make our race cars faster," Newmark told Motorsport.com. "Obviously, there are different opinions on how you do that and ultimately what we decided is we need to be more of an engineering, laser-focussed company. We've always been good at production and manufacturing. I think sometimes you fall back on what you're comfortable with.
Over the last two weeks, close to 30 Roush employees have been displaced - some in house, some such as veteran crew chief Bob Osborne who had been overseeing Chris Buescher's campaign at Front Row Motorsports. Together, the pair made the Chase. Buescher, Roush's most talented prospect in its driver stable, is now on loan to JTG Daugherty Racing (along with a RFR charter) for 2017.
Roush Fenway Racing will continue its technical alliance with Bob Jenkins and Front Row Motorsports. Newmark says the multi-year deal with FRM is one of the best collaborations Roush has had over the years. Although it's unlikely that one of the RFR prospects will replace Buescher in the #34 Ford. "They have some great folks there and we''ll continue to work with them next year," Newmark said. "We have dialogue with Bob quite a bit, but I don't think that (driver development) will be part of the relationship next year." That's not to say that Ryan Reed or Darrell "Bubba" Wallace couldn't see seat time in a Cup car in 2017. However, Newmark says the company's immediate focus remains on getting Bayne and Stenhouse up to speed.(Motorsport)(12-8-2016)
Cassill returning to Front Row UPDATE: Landon Cassill will return to the Cup Series for Front Row Motorsports in 2017. The 27-year-old has competed full-time in the Cup Series for the past six seasons, finishing a career-high 29th in the championship standings in 2016. At Bristol in the spring, the #38 car was out front for 20 laps, the most laps he has ever led in a single race. Cassill is seeking to secure sponsorship for next year, much like he did in 2016, in hopes of moving forward after a career year. "We're continuing to work forward on everything with Front Row Motorsports," Cassill said. "I don't see any changes being made, but everything will be getting buttoned up in the next few weeks I'm sure." Cassill had a career-high seven top-20 finishes in 2016, led by veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo. With a best finish of 11th at Talladega, the Iowa native is tired of being underrated, instead wishing he was "overrated." Cassill wants to climb the ladder with FRM, moving them up the ranks to be a more competitive team in 2017. Jerry Freeze, General Manager at Front Row Motorsports, confirmed to Frontstretch that Cassill will return in 2017, admitting that the organization's plans are not completely laid out for 2017. "I think so, too," Freeze said of Cassill remaining with the team. "We still have to get everything worked out with all the partners, but we are really close."(Frontstretch)(11-26-2016)
UPDATE: The contract for (Lamdon) Cassill to return (to Front Row Motorsports) for next season is not official. Cassill said this week that it's in the process of being finalized and "should be in the next week or so that it's all buttoned up, but they've made it clear this is what they're working towards and what they want to do, and I'm completely fine with that." Cassill is currently the only driver in FRM's stable for NASCAR's premier series after (Chris) Buescher was announced to be moving to JTG-Daugherty Racing with a leased charter from Roush Fenway Racing. What FRM does with the #34 still is to be determined, but Cassill said his entry looks to be in good shape sponsor-wise headed into 2017. A return to FRM is ideal for Cassill because, he said, he's seen what his team has done with technology and information from the alliance with RFR, and in turn what he's then been able to do with that behind the wheel.(The Gazette)(12-4-2016)
Chris Buescher to 2nd JTG Daughtery team? UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle's decision to leave Roush-Fenway Racing on Monday triggered a strange chain reaction that will include the slumping racing company loaning driver Chris Buescher to a rival manufacturer next season. Buescher will drive for a newly-created second Chevrolet team at JTG Daughtery Racing in 2017. Roush Fenway is expected to scuttle Biffle's #16 team, and that could make that team's charter available to the highest bidder - including the new JTG Daughtery entry. Despite fielding full-time teams for Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway hasn't won a race since 2014. By loaning Buescher to JTG Daugherty next year, Ford Racing will be able to work on upgrades with Roush Fenway while keeping one of its young drivers under contract. "It was a mutual agreement," Biffle said. "It's been frustrating for everyone. I've been the one carrying the company banner. It just didn't get any better. I didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel, so I decided I'd rather do something else - even if it means not driving anymore. I owe Jack everything I've accomplished in this sport. Some things just run their course." Roush said Biffle was one of the anchors of his entire race team. "I don't have the words to say what Greg has meant to this organization," Roush said in a team release. "He is a true racer who has always exhibited a will to win and an intense passion for speed. For almost two decades Greg has given us an opportunity to run up front and compete for wins. Greg exemplifies what every owner hopes for in a driver and I'm extremely thankful for having him as part of our organization."(Florida Times Union)(11-21-2016)
UPDATE: From Bob Pockrass Twitter: "Tad Geschickter says nothing done yet as far as plans for second JTG car next year."(11-22-2016)
UPDATE 2: Roush Fenway Racing Announces 2017 NASCAR Cup Plans: Roush Fenway Racing has announced its 2017 plans for the NASCAR Cup Series that will see the organization field a two-car Cup operation next season, with drivers Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. piloting the #6 and #17 Ford Fusions, respectively, in NASCAR's highest series. In addition, Kevin Kidd and Tommy Wheeler will lead Roush Fenway's overall competition efforts going forward. Kidd will assume the role of Competition Director, and Wheeler will serve as the team's Operations Director. The team will lease its #16 NASCAR Charter and driver Chris Buescher to JTG Racing in 2017. "We have been able to shore up our plans for 2017 and we feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results," said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. "We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season, and we will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front."
The #6 team will once again be led by veteran crew chief Matt Puccia. Brian Pattie, who was the crew chief for the #16 Cup Series team last season, will transition to crew chief of the #17 team. Nick Sandler, who served as the #17 crew chief the last two seasons, has been named Director of Engineering. Robbie Reiser, who has played an integral role on the competition side at Roush Fenway Racing for a number of years, will remain with the organization in a yet to be determined position. Kidd has served as Roush Fenway's Cup Team Manager - supervising all at-track operations - for the previous two seasons, after coming over from Joe Gibbs Racing where he worked as a crew chief for the previous half decade. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, and has worked as a lead engineer for multiple teams and drivers. Wheeler, who holds a B.S. in physics from Davidson College, joined Roush Fenway in 2009. A 20-plus year veteran of the sport, he has served in many capacities for the team, including as the team's production director since 2011, overseeing the building and production of all of the organization's Cup and XFINITY Series cars. (RFR)(11-29-2016)
AND Chris Buescher will drive a second car for JTG Daugherty in 2017, the team stated Tuesday. "We can confirm at this time that JTG Daugherty Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series," JTG Daugherty Racing team owner Tad Geschickter said in a statement. "We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car. More details will follow." Said Buescher, 24, in a statement: "I can confirm that I have signed to race for JTG Daugherty Racing as they expand to a two-car team in the NASCAR premier series in 2017. I'm thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase. We'll have more details at a later date."(NBC Sports)(11-29-2016)
Biffle ready for a change? UPDATE4 leaves Roush: After re-signing with RFR in 2014, Biffle hasn't sniffed the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the last two seasons. He thought 2016 might be the year. With a new crew chief in Brian Pattie, a lower-downforce aero package from the sanctioning body and a renewed effort at Roush, things appeared to line up for NASCAR's elder statesman. And now, he's 24th in the standings with just one top-five finish, at Loudon. So when Biffle said his most recent contract might be his last, it's understandable. "Well, if I talk to you Sunday after the race in here, maybe that will be some inspiration," Biffle said in the media center where the winner is interviewed following the race. "I want to be competitive in races and run in the top 10. That's my goal and my focus. If I'm not doing that, then I am probably going to do something different." Biffle has been rumored to be leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season. Although he owns the building that headquarters HScott Motorsports in North Carolina, Biffle said he has not discussed racing for Harry Scott after Clint Bowyer leaves in November. Biffle has heard the rumors that he'll end up and Front Row Motorsports - a technical partner - but given his loyalty to Roush over his career, that's unlikely to be something he'd consider. Still, it would take something more promising - and competitive - to pique his interest in continuing down the current path.(Motorsport)(10-15-2016)
UPDATE: hearing Biffle will leave Roush Fenway Racing and go to a second team fielded by JTG Daugherty Racing. No word if the team would secure a charter.(10-22-2016)
UPDATE 2: When motorsport.com reached out to JTGD team owner Tad Geschickter via text on Monday, he replied, "We are weighing the pros and cons of starting a second team as we speak." Geschickter expects to stay the course with RCR after their contract expires at the end of the year. Although the Wood Brothers have shared a shop with JTGD since the end of the 2005 season, the #21 team is transitioning to a new home in Mooresville. The additional space would provide ample room for JTGD to expand to a second car.(Motorsport)(10-25-2016)
UPDATE 3: Tad Geschickter, co-owner of JTG Daugherty racing, says it is "certainly a possibility' his team may expand to two cars in 2017, adding "the economics" of charter acquisition will play into a decision, which they may "have that done next week." Geschickter made the comments on SiriusXM Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "That's a big decision," Geschickter said. "Certainly we're weighing out all the options right now. It's no secret that we have to figure out are there are charters available and their cost, are there drivers available, what do they cost and certainly we ultimately have to report back to the sponsors and pull the trigger. But it's Nov. 1, (eventually) we've got to make the call, but it's a huge decision for a company of our size," said Geschickter.(NBC Sports)(11-2-2016)
UPDATE 4: Greg Biffle, who has spent the last 14 seasons driving a Sprint Cup car for Roush Fenway Racing, has left the organization after a frustrating season where he finished 23rd in the standings, the team confirmed. Biffle had one year left on his Roush Fenway contract, but the organization does not have sponsorship for him for next year. The organization has not made a decision whether to field the #16 car in 2017; the team has a charter for that car, so it either must run the car, lease the charter or sell it..(ESPN)
AND Roush Fenway Racing and driver Greg Biffle have parted ways after the conclusion of the 2016 NASCAR season. Biffle, the organization's longest-tenured driver, drove the #16 Sprint Cup Series entry since 2002. He joined Roush Fenway in 1998, and worked his way up through the NASCAR ranks, winning championships in the Truck and XFINITY Series' and finishing runner up in the Sprint Cup Series. "We've had an incredible run and I am so appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of Roush Fenway," said Biffle. "For a kid that grew up Washington, I'm extremely proud of everything we have been able to accomplish over the last 19 years - both on and off the track. I've enjoyed every minute. I'm excited about the next chapter of my life, and I look forward to exploring other opportunities - particularly in radio and television - both inside and outside of NASCAR.
I'm thankful to Jack Roush for the opportunity to have driven his race cars for all these years. It's very rare in this sport to have been able to stay with one team this many years, and to have been as successful as we have been."
The Vancouver, Washington native, who was first recommended to Jack Roush by the late Hall-of-Famer Benny Parsons, brought Roush Fenway its first two NASCAR championships in 2000 (Trucks) and 2002 (XFINITY). He came up just 35 points short of being the only driver to win a championship in all three major series with his runner-up finish in the 2005 season, when he led the series with six victories and led more than 1,300 laps.
"I don't have the words to say what Greg has meant to this organization," said team owner Jack Roush. "He is a true racer who has always exhibited a will to win and an intense passion for speed. For almost two decades Greg has given us an opportunity to run up front and compete for wins. Greg exemplifies what every owner hopes for in a driver and I'm extremely thankful for having him as part of our organization. I know that Greg and I will maintain a strong friendship and I look forward to leaning on him on occasion as we continue to work on improving our performance."
"As much as the trophies and championships, I will cherish the memories and the relationships forged during our run," added Biffle. "We had some great teams, fast race cars and some really outstanding partners over the past two decades. I'll always be thankful to everyone that gave us the opportunity to go out and accomplish the milestones that we have been able to." Biffle, who is one of only 17 drivers to make 500 consecutive Sprint Cup starts, qualified for the Chase on eight occasions and has driven to victory lane 19 times in his Sprint Cup career. Overall, Biffle has started 835 NASCAR races - having won 55 times in the three major series - and led almost 12,000 laps.(Roush Fenway Racing)(11-21-2016)
Buescher unlikely to move to Roush next season: #34-Chris Buescher's improbable and highly unusual first Sprint Cup victory at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago had little impact on how Roush Fenway Racing executives evaluate their prospect and 2015 Xfinity Series champion. The team already believed the 23-year-old was capable of winning at NASCAR's highest level, president Steve Newmark told USA TODAY Sports, so winning in his work-study program at Front Row Motorsports on a fuel strategy gambit in a race halted prematurely because of rain and fog provided no new evidence. But even though Buescher now has more wins that the entirety of Roush Fenway's three-car Sprint Cup contingent and a simpler route to Chase for the Sprint Cup qualification than Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle or Ricky Stenhouse Jr., he is currently unlikely to be brought back aboard his parent team next season.
"I don't think that particular win monumentally changes the direction that we want to go with him," Newmark said. "Our hope is to be in a position at some point to bring Chris back into Roush Fenway equipment at the Cup level. Right now we've got a great partnership with Front Row. I think they were excited that that possibility was available because we felt Chris was ready to get to the Cup level after his Xfinity championship last year and thought that would be really good experience. And it's proven to be that."
It is unlikely, Newmark said, that Roush Fenway will expand to four cars for 2017 because of multiple factors. Sponsorship is always involved, and, he added, "we need to keep getting better on the race track."(USA Today)(8-12-2016)
4th ever win for car #34: When Chris Buescher won the Pennsylvania 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2016, it was only the 4th time a car running the #34 won a Sprint Cup Series race. The last win in #34 was when David Ragan won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega on May 5, 2013 for the third win. The other two wins were big milestones in NASCAR history. NASCAR Hall of Famer driver Wendell Scott won at Jacksonville on December 1, 1963, the only African-American to win a Cup race. The first win by the #34 was by Jim Roper at Charlotte in June 1949, the first ever NASCAR race. For more info on car number wins and some history, see Jayski.com's Wins by Car Number page.(8-2-2016)
Chris Buescher wins at Pocono: #34-Chris Buescher won the rain-delayed Pennsylvania 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at Pocono, and 1st career win. This is the second win for Front Row Racing. The race was called with 22 laps remaining after fog rolled into the track that made it impossible to continue. Buescher had stayed out under green and was in the lead when the caution fell with 28 laps to go. He led 12 of the 138 laps. The race was red flagged for more than an hour before the race was called.
The race was run on Monday after rain postponed it Sunday.
#2-Keselowski finished 2nd followed by #7-Smith, #4-Harvick, #14-Stewart, #42-Larson, #11-Hamlin, #19-Edwards, #18-Busch, and #41-Busch.
Pole sitter, #78-Truex, Jr. hit the wall early in the race after a tire went down from a broken valve stem. He finished 38th.
Jeff Gordon, subbing for #88-Earnhardt, Jr., finished 28th.
There were 19 lead changes among 11 drivers and 7 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 127.581 mph.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: None
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
Lap Summary Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
Pit Stop Times (pdf)
Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Pocono Race & Points Report (pdf).(8-1-2016)
Buescher unsure of 2017 plans; Erik Jones has a plan: Rookie Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones said Joe Gibbs Racing knows what they plan to do with him in 2017. "There's a plan in place that will be in motion here later in the year," Jones said Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway's Media Day at Gilley's. "There's a plan in place and really, my performance this year isn't going to be indicative of where that's going to end up." Jones didn't give specifics on the team's plan. The 20-year old driver is five races into the Xfinity season with the #20 team for JGR after winning last year's Camping World Truck Series title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. All four Sprint Cup rides at JGR are filled, but the team formed a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing before this season. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser has expressed interest in fielding a second car. "It's the first time in my career where I've been in a position like this, where I am set in my future at this point at least, and that's a great feeling as a young driver, not to really have to really fight every week," Jones said.
It's a slightly different story for defending Xfinity Series champion Chris Buescher. The Texas native is in his first full-time Sprint Cup season, driving the #34 Ford in a partnership between Roush Fenway Racing and Front Row Motorsports. The 23-year-old driver doesn't know yet where he'll be competing in 2017 but said the possibility remains that he could be right where he is a year from now. "We don't have anything figured out yet beyond this year," Buescher said. "I'm still under contract with Roush as a development driver. I do not know what next year holds. It could be the same, could be different. We haven't gotten that far, we've barely gotten far enough as to discuss how this year is all going to work out." Buescher would be surprised if he learned his fate any time soon.(NBC Sports)(3-31-2016)
Moffitt named NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year: Lost in the shuffle of all that transpired in Sunday night's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, #34-Brett Moffitt was named the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year for 2015. Moffitt competed in 31 of the 36 Sprint Cup Series events this season, driving for Michael Waltrip Racing and Front Row Motorsports throughout the year. Moffett made his first start of the season, eighth of his career, at Atlanta Motor Speedway last March 1, driving the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. In that event, Moffitt started 22nd and finished eighth for a career-best and what turned out to be his highest finish of the season. "Atlanta was definitely the highlight of my year," Moffitt said Sunday at Homestead. "Going into 2015, that was the one race I had on my schedule with Michael Waltrip Racing, and they gave me the opportunity. Michael, the folks at Aaron's and Rob Kauffman (who owned MWR with Michael Waltrip) believed in me enough to fill in for Brian (Vickers) that race, and to go out there and finish eighth place was huge. You know, the time I didn't even know what I was doing behind the wheel of a race car it seemed like."
Moffitt would pilot the #55 MWR Toyota until Richmond in April. Once David Ragan took over driving duties at MWR, Moffitt returned to Front Row Motorsports for the remainder of the 2015 season. "As a rookie, being with Front Row Motorsports was a really good home," he said. "I learned a lot throughout the year, getting to race with 43 of the best drivers in the world is a learning curve, especially I have very limited XFINITY and truck experience, so a lot of these tracks were the first time for me. Just being able to get on the racetrack, being around them, trying to learn from them, it's added up to a lot." With only one scheduled race at the start of the season -- Atlanta with MWR -- Moffitt did not declare himself eligible for the Rookie of the Year award until later in the season, when it became apparent he would run the majority of the season. "Once we reached a point where I knew I was going to do at least seven races and wouldn't be eligible in 2016 to run for Rookie of the Year, at that point we said, why not sign up for it and hope things work out, and they did," he said. "And that's really where Bob and everyone at Front Row Motorsports kind of made this happen, and they stuck their neck out on the line and hired a rookie, and it paid off."
Despite a consistent year that ended in with the rookie title, Moffitt's 2016 plans are still up in the air. "Right now my slate is empty," he said. "I mean, we're working hard, but it's hard to secure the funding to be able to run in any of the top three series. If anything would come forward, I'd be more than willing to work with any series, whether it was truck, XFINITY or another Cup ride."(FoxSports), see Rookie Standings, History, Stats and more on the 2015 Rookie of the Year page.(11-24-2015)