Capitalizing on a robust rookie class that is bound to get a lot of attention in 2020, Premium Motorsports announced during the off-season that Brennan Poole will race the No. 15 that was ably competed by Ross Chastain last year.
With two cars at their disposal for most of the past four seasons, Premium has been slowly building a program that can be occasionally fantasy relevant. Since 2016, about two dozen drivers have climbed behind the wheel of one of their cars and there have been occasional highlights.
Last year, Chastain gave them their second-best finish when he kept his car undented and crossed under the checkers 10th in the Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip earned an eighth in that same race in 2017, and as would be expected from a moderately-funded team, the majority of their best runs have come with in egalitarian drafting conditions.
All of this team’s top-15s and the vast majority of top-20s have come on the aero-restricted superspeedways. But the former driver of this car, Chastain proved to be fantasy relevant on a number of other occasions and different tracks in the past few years. Premium finished 18th at Texas last April and had 20th-place results at Las Vegas in 2018 and Dover in 2017.
Most of Poole’s success has been earned in the ARCA series. In 35 starts there, he won six times from 2011 through 2014. He has shown promise, but has been much less productive in NASCAR’s junior series with four top-10s in 16 Truck starts and 36 top-10s in 83 Xfinity starts.
The highlight reel is not overly long, but it has been promising at times. Poole earned eight top-fives in 2016 and 2017 with Chip Ganassi Racing and some of those runs were dominant enough to put him on the radar screen of NASCAR teams. His best finish to date was a second in the 2017 Kentucky Xfinity race when he crossed under the checkers behind his teammate Tyler Reddick.
Arguably one of Poole’s best performances came at Darlington in 2016 when he finished fifth. What made that race so memorable was that he refused to be intimidated by a much more experienced Kevin Harvick in the middle stages of that race. On the Track Too Tough to Tame, three of the four drivers lined up ahead of him were Cup regulars Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Larson – but he was able to outrun Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and Ty Dillon in a star-studded event.
Poole has another top-five at Dover, which makes him notable on rough-surfaced drivers’ tracks. Two of his eight top-fives came at Iowa Speedway.
Poole will not win the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors and in all likelihood will never be the top performing freshman in a field that includes Reddick, Christopher Bell, and Cole Custer. But that does not mean he will never be appropriate for your roster.
The strength of this team last year was that they improved in race conditions. With a +5.37, Chastain earned the most place-differential points during the season and he netted a respectable 28.20 average finish along the way. Our prediction is that Poole with do two-thirds as well as Chastain and he could be a provisionally good value on occasion.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Top-5s: 8 (9.6%)
Top-10s: 36 (43.3%)
Poles: 1 (1.2%)
Top-5s: 1 (6.3%)
Top-10s: 4 (25.0%)
Wins: 6 (17.1%)
Top-5s: 18 (51.4%)
Top-10s: 27 (77.1%)
Poles: 4 (11.4%)