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Look Ahead

Look Ahead: Daytona in 62 days

by Anthony Ballantoni
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 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 62 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: Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet SS) finished 24th in the standings and earned 857 points. The 34-year-old Mayetta, NJ driver led one lap and scored one top-five and five top-10 finishes. He had a 20.1 average start and a 20.2 average finish.
Best 2014 NSCS start: 2 – Daytona 2/23 *
Best 2014 NSCS finish: 4 – Kansas 10/5
Last career NSCS Win: Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013.
* (Truex was caught up in a wreck in the Daytona qualifying duel #2 and had to go to his backup car for the Daytona 500. This meant he had to give up the second place start and had to drop to rear at the green flag. Then the engine failed at lap 30 in the backup and he was credited with a 43rd place finish.)
2015: Truex’s contract with Furniture Row Racing continues thru the end of 2015. He returns to the No. 78 but will have a new crew chief. Cole Pearn has been named to replace Todd Berrier who has been offered a key position to remain at FRM.

2014: Marcos Ambrose (Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford Fusion) finished 23rd in the standings and earned 870 points. The 38-year-old Launceston, Tasmania driver led 50 laps, scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He had a 19.9 average start and a 19.9 average finish. Ambrose also drove RPM’s No. 09 Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen; started fourth, led 48 laps and won the 82 lap event.
Best 2014 NSCS start: 2 – Watkins Glen 8/10
Best 2014 NSCS finish: 2 – Watkins Glen 8/10
Last NSCS Win: Watkins Glen International on August 12, 2012.
2015: At the end of the season, Ambrose and his family moved back to Australia where he will return to the V8 Supercars Series. He has already competed in the final three 2014 events in that series, posting a 19.0 average finish. Nationwide Series driver, Sam Hornish Jr., has been hired to replace Ambrose in the No. 9 Ford for 2015.

2014: Brian Vickers (Michael_Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota Camry) finished 22nd in the standings and earned 921 points. The 31-year-old Thomasville, NC driver earned one pole, led 53 laps, scored three top-five and nine top-10s. He had a 14.1 average start and an 18.6 average finish.
Best 2014 NSCS start: Pole – Talladega 10/19
Best 2014 NSCS finish: 2 – Daytona 7/6
Last NSCS Win: New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013.
2015: Vickers was slated to return to the MWR No. 55 for the full season. He will miss the start of the season due to another health issue. His body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in his heart. On December 13th he had corrective surgery to repair the hole and is in the recovery process. A substitute driver has yet to be named for the No. 55.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2014 (NNS):
Jeffrey Earnhardt (JD Motorsports No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro) finished 18th in the standings and earned 586 points. The 25-year-old Mooresville, NC driver led one lap and had an average start of 28.4 and a 26.3 average finish.
Best 2014 NNS start: 17 – Bristol 3/15
Best 2014 NNS finish: 12 – Bristol 8/22
Last career NNS Win: None so far.
2015 (NXS): No firm plans at this time but it appears Earnhardt will return to the No. 4 in 2015. Sponsorship is not confirmed at this time as well.

2014 (NNS): J.J. Yeley (JGL Racing Nos. 28 and 93 Dodges) finished 17th in the standings and earned 651 points. In 30 races, the 38-year-old Phoenix, AZ driver led three laps and scored one top-five and two top-10s. He had an average start of 23.4 and a 21.6 average finish. Yeley also made 18 Sprint Cup starts for various teams (BK Racing, Team Xtreme and GoFas Racing) posting an average start of 37.6 and a 37.2 average finish.
Best 2014 NNS start: 14 – Fontana 3/22
Best 2014 NNS finish: 5 – Road America 6/21
Last career NNS Win: None so far.
2015 (NXS): No plans at this time for any series action for Yeley in 2015. No word on JGL Racing's Twitter or Facebook pages on 2015 plans at this time.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2014:
Norm Benning (Norm Benning Racing No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado) finished 22nd in the standings and earned 432 points. He switched his truck number from 57 to 6 mid-season when the 6 became available. The 62-year-old Level Cross, NC driver averaged a 29.7 start and a 24.4 average finish.
Best 2014 NCWTS start: 22 – Dover 5/30
Best 2014 NCWTS finish: 17 – Charlotte 5/16
Last career NCWTS Win: None so far.
2015: No firm plans announced but Benning will most likely attempt to run another full season in his No. 6 Silverado.

2014: Jennifer Jo Cobb (Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing No. 10 Chevrolet Silverado’s and No. 10 RAM’s) finished 16th in the standings and earned 444 points in 21 starts. She missed the cut for the dirt track race at Eldora Speedway. The 41-year-old Kansas City, KS driver led two laps and averaged a 27.9 start and a 23.0 average finish. She also entered a Nationwide Series race at her home track, Kansas Speedway, driving the Rick Ware Racing No. 87 Chevrolet Camaro (finished 24th).
Best 2014 NCWTS start: 19 – Dover 5/30
Best 2014 NCWTS finish: 13 – Kansas 5/9
Last career NCWTS Win: None so far.
2015: No plans announced but Cobb is expected to attempt to make the field in every race in 2015 driving the No. 10 with engines from Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.

 

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

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

9

Sam Hornish Jr.

Twisted Tea

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

10

Danica Patrick

GoDaddy.com / Aspen Dental

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

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

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

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

36

Reed Sorenson

(sponsor unconfirmed)

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

38

David Gilliland

(sponsor unconfirmed)

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 NBC Sports Edge.