One in a series of 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team previews ahead of the season-opening Daytona 500:
JTG DAUGHERTY RACING
Principal owners: Tad Geschickter, Jodi Geschickter, Brad Daugherty
Engine source: Earnhardt Childress Racing
Alliances: Richard Childress Racing
Driver (crew chief): AJ Allmendinger (Brian Burns)
2013's top finisher: Allmendinger (35th)
2013 grade: C
2014 preseason grade: B-minus
2014 outlook: JTG Daugherty Racing looks to take a step forward by switching from Toyota to Chevrolet while forming an alliance with Richard Childress Racing for engineering support and Earnhardt Childress Racing engines. Another indication of the team's future-minded approach is the signing of AJ Allmendinger to a multiyear contract. Allmendinger has done a remarkable job rebuilding his career after a 2012 suspension for a failed drug test. He spent most of 2013 splitting duties between the IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Team Penske, earning his first two career NNS wins in the process. Despite leading in his first Indianapolis 500 start, the longtime open-wheel racer committed his career to the Sprint Cup Series and joined JTG Daugherty for the Michigan race in June. He ran nine races for the team, scored its best result of the 2013 season (10th place at Watkins Glen) and by the end of the season had done enough to earn a full-time job.
Quotable: "We've always reinvested back in the business. I really feel like this is the year we can get to Victory Lane. With AJ, we think this is the year we can break through." -- Tad Geschickter
"We talked about being competitive last year and feel like we're a top-20 team, but the reality of it is we were a 30th-place race team. We saw the huge holes that we weren't going to be able to fill in-house. We knew we had to have an alliance if we truly wanted to be competitive. AJ's got a second chance and second opportunity to do something special. He's under a microscope, and it's up to him to take this opportunity and seize it. We feel we have the driver to win races and challenge for the championship. When we go to Watkins Glen and places like Dover, we're going to kick their butts. There's no need to be shy about it." -- Brad Daugherty
AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet): "After all the things I've been through and the different teams I've been able to drive for, this race team is a great place to be. As a small race team, it's hard to make the commitment to forge an alliance with someone like Richard Childress, but Tad and Brad have been able to do that. The biggest thing to start with is managing expectations. You want everything to happen overnight, and that would be nice. But we want to continually build this into a strong race team. Winning the first Sprint Cup race together is the ultimate goal, but you can't jump from 30th to first. It's about taking it piece by piece. If we do everything to our ability, we can be a team that people will look at and say, 'We can't sleep on them.'"
2014 goal: Contend for a road-course win