Loading scores...
Look Ahead

Look Ahead: The 500 in 34 days

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 2014 and what’s ahead for them in 2015. We will look at drivers who scored at least 400 points in the Cup Series and those who earned at least 250 points in the XFINITY (formerly Nationwide) and Camping World Truck Series.

With 34 days to go until the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are some driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2015 Sprint Cup Driver/Team lineups.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):
2014
: Kurt Busch (Stewart Haas Racing No.  41 Chevrolet SS) finished 12th in the standings, made the Chase and earned 2,263 points. The 36-year-old Las Vegas, NV driver led 220 laps and scored one win, six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He had a 13.5 average start and an 18.9 average finish. He also pulled the Memorial Day double with an entry in both the IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the “brickyard” and the NSCS Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch drove the Andretti Autosport Chevrolet-powered No. 26 Dallara at Indianapolis; started 12th, completed all 200 laps and finished sixth.
Best 2014 NSCS starts: 2 – Pocono 6/8 and Homestead-Miami 11/16
Best 2014 NSCS finish: Win – Martinsville 3/30
Last career NSCS Win: STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014.
2015: Busch is scheduled to return to the No. 41 but is facing a NASCAR suspension based on the outcome of the domestic abuse trial he is currently going through in Delaware.

2014: Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet SS) finished 11th in the standings, made the Chase and earned 2,274 points. The 39-year-old El Cajon, CA driver led 1,310 laps, scored four wins, one pole, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. He had an 11.9 average start and a 15.3 average finish.
Best 2014 NSCS start: Pole – Charlotte 5/25
Best 2014 NSCS finishes: Win – Charlotte 5/25, Dover 6/1, Michigan 6/15 and Fort Worth 11/2
Last NSCS Win: AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014.
2015: Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and sponsor Lowe’s are all contracted to return to the No. 48 Chevrolet in 2015.

2014: Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry) finished 10th in the standings, made the Chase and earned 2,285 points. The 29-year-old Las Vegas, NV driver led 453 laps, scored one win, three poles, nine top-five and 15 top-10s. He had a 13.1 average start and a 17.6 average finish. He also drove JGR’s No. 54 Toyota in 26 of the 33 Nationwide Series races. He averaged a 6.0 start (including seven poles), led 1,769 laps and had a 2.8 average finish (including seven victories). In the September NNS race at Richmond, Busch started on pole and, after leading all 250 laps, took the win by a margin of 1.3 seconds. In 10 starts in the Camping World Truck Series, he drove his Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota Tundra averaging a 4.0 finish. This included four poles and seven wins.
Best 2014 NSCS starts: Pole – Martinsville 3/30, Loudon 7/13, Chicagoland 9/14 and Charlotte 10/11
Best 2014 NSCS finish: Win – Sonoma 3/23
Last NSCS Win: Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014.
2015: Busch, who had successful off-season surgery on his left foot, will return to the No. 18 with a new crew chief. Adam Stevens takes over for Dave Rogers in that role. Busch will also pilot the No. 54 in most of the NXS races as well as sharing the ride in his KBM No. 51 truck with Daniel Suarez and Matt Tifft.

UPDATES on previously covered NSCS drivers:
- Cole Whitt will expand the Front Row Motorsports racing stable to three full-time cars in 2015, piloting the No. 35 Ford with support from Speed Stick® for 10 races. Randy Cox will also join the Front Row team to continue his relationship with Whitt as crew chief.
- Reed Sorenson will run a partial season, beginning with the March race at Martinsville Speedway, driving the Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 36 Chevrolet SS with sponsorship from Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2014 (NNS)
: James Buescher (RAB Racing No. 99 Toyota Camry) finished 10th in the standings and earned 868 points. The 24-year-old Plano, TX driver scored two top-10s and had an average start of 16.7 and a 17.8 average finish.
Best 2014 NNS start: 8 – Bristol 3/15
Best 2014 NNS finish: 9 – Bristol 8/22
Last career NNS Win: DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 25, 2012.
2015 (NXS): No firm plans yet but Buescher will probably return to the No. 99. Sponsorship is unknown at this time since Rheem moved over to Austin Dillon in his part-time NXS ride in the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro.

2014 (NNS): Ryan Reed (Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford Mustang) finished ninth in the standings and earned 889 points. The 29-year-old Bakersfield, CA driver scored one top-five and one top-10. He had an average start of 16.3 and a 17.1 average finish. He also drove Bill McAnally’s No. 99 Ford at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event; started 20th and finished seventh.
Best 2014 NNS starts: 4 – Talladega 5/3 and Daytona 7/4
Best 2014 NNS finish: 4 – Daytona 7/4
Last career NNS Win: None so far.
2015 (NXS): Reed, crew chief Seth Barbour and sponsor American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes have all contracted to return to the No. 16 Mustang in 2015.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2014
: Ben Kennedy (Turner Scott Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado) finished ninth in the standings and earned 679 points. The 23-year-old Daytona Beach, FL driver led 58 laps, scored one top-five and seven top-10s and averaged an 11.8 start coupled with a 13.3 average finish. Kennedy earned the 2014 NCWTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
Best 2014 NCWTS start: 1 – Daytona 2/21 (not credited with a pole, qualifying was rained-out and lineup set by practice speeds)
Best 2014 NCWTS finish: 3 – Martinsville 3/29
Last career NCWTS Win: None so far.
2015: Kennedy will pilot the Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota Tundra for the full season.

2014: Jeb Burton (ThorSport Racing No. 13 Toyota Tundra) finished eighth in the standings and earned 679 points. The 22-year old Halifax, VA driver led seven laps and scored two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He averaged a 10.0 start and a 13.2 finish. Burton drove the Biagi-DenBeste Racing No. 98 Ford Mustang in the May Nationwide Series race at Charlotte; started 12th and finished 15th. He also piloted ThorSport Racing’s No. 98 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series season-opener at Daytona; started 21st and finished 29th.
Best 2014 NCWTS start: 2 – Eldora 7/23
Best 2014 NCWTS finish: 2 – Fort Worth 10/31
Last career NCWTS Win: WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7, 2013.
2015: No firm plans announced at this time due to sponsorship decisions but Burton is still listed as the driver of the No. 13 Toyota Tundra for 2015.

 

2015 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/Alliance Truck Parts/Wurth

Ford

Team Penske

3

Austin Dillon

Dow/Cheerios/Bass Pro Shops/American Ethanol

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

4

Kevin Harvick

Budweiser/Jimmie Johns/Outback Steakhouse

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Great Clips/

Time Warner Cable/Pepsi/LiftMaster

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

7

Michael Annett

Pilot Flying J

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

9

Sam Hornish Jr.

Twisted Tea

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

10

Danica Patrick

GoDaddy.com/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/Charter/AAA Mid-Atlantic

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

16

Greg Biffle

Ortho/Cheez-It

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Zest

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Carl Edwards

Arris/Stanley Tools/Sport Clips/Subway

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General/DeWalt

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil/AAA/Autotrader.com

Ford

Team Penske

23

Alex Bowman

Dr. Pepper/Burger King

Toyota

BK Racing

24

Jeff Gordon

Drive to End Hunger/Axalta/Pepsi/3M/Panasonic

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menards

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

30

?

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Chevrolet

The Motorsports Group

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar/Quicken Loans/

WIX Filters/Kwikset

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Bobby Labonte

C&J Energy Services (4 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

32

Boris Said

(Watkins Glen and Sonoma only)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

32

?

Keenparts.com/corvetteparts.net (8 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

33

Ty Dillon

NE Cheerio’s/Kroger (Daytona 500)
Yuengling (Pocono - June)

Chevrolet

Joe Falk-Circle Sport Racing

34

David Ragan

Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

35

Cole Whitt

Speed Stick

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

36

Reed Sorenson

Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

38

David Gilliland

Love's Travel Stops

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

40

Landon Cassill

NE (sponsor unconfirmed)?

Chevrolet

Joe Falk Racing

41

Kurt Busch

Haas Automation/State Water Heaters

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Target

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods/STP/“Fresh From Florida”

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Clorox/Scott Products

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

Justin Allgaier

BRANDT

Chevrolet

HScott Motorsports

55

Brian Vickers

Aaron’s Dream Machine

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

55

(Sub)

(Vickers recovering from surgery)

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row

Chevrolet

Furniture Row Racing

83

?

Burger King/Dr. Pepper

Toyota

BK Racing

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide/Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/Kelley Blue Book

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

98

Josh Wise

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Chevrolet

Phil Parsons Racing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part-time/Questionable teams

 

 

21

Ryan Blaney

NE Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

26

?

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Toyota

BK Racing

66

?

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

95

Michael McDowell

K-LOVE

Ford

Leavine Family Racing

 

 

NE=Not eligible for points in Sprint Cup

 

 

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