Look Ahead

Look Ahead: Cup Racing in 55

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

During the off-season, Look Ahead gives a snapshot of where drivers finished in 2015 and what’s ahead for them in 2016. We will look at drivers who scored at least 250 points in the Cup Series and those who earned at least 200 points in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. Since many teams have yet to firm up their 2016 plans, we will include updates in future columns.

With 55 days to go until the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500, here are some driver recaps followed by a tentative list of 2016 Sprint Cup Driver/Team lineups.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS):
2015
: Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet SS) - In 36 races, the Lewisville, NC driver led 39 laps, scored one top-five, five top-10s, had a 17.0 average start, a 21.0 average finish, earned 832 points and closed out the season 21st in the standings. Dillon drove RCR’s No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro in 20 of the 33 XFINITY Series races collecting four wins, six poles, 13 top-fives, 16 top-10s, led 544 laps and had a 7.0 average finish. In four Camping World Truck Series starts (#33 Chevrolet Silverado), he averaged a 4.8 start and a 4.2 finish including a win from the pole at Loudon, NH. Hillman Racing put Dillon in their #40 Chevrolet for the K&N Pro Series West event at the Sonoma road course; started and finished in sixth place.
Best 2015 start: 2nd – Daytona 7/5
Best 2015 finish: 4th – Michigan 8/16
Last career NSCS win: None so far.
2016: Dillon’s #3 team will continue with all sponsors returning as well. Slugger Labbe will also return as crew chief for the team. He has been given a three-year extension in this role.

2015: Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing #16 Ford Fusion) - In 36 races, the Vancouver, WA driver led 40 laps, scored three top-fives, four top-10s, had a 19.9 average start, a 20.0 average finish, earned 869 points, and closed out the season 20th in the standings.
Best 2015 starts: 4th – Charlotte 5/24 and Charlotte 10/11
Best 2015 finish: 2nd – Charlotte 5/24
Last career NSCS win: Michigan on June 16, 2013.
2016: Biffle is contracted thru 2016 to drive RFR’s #16 Ford. Brian Pattie, former crew chief for Clint Bowyer at Michael Waltrip Racing for the past four seasons, is now Biffle’s crew chief. He replaced Matt Puccia (with Biffle since the middle of 2011) who will move to the XFINITY Series to lead the RFR #6 Ford Mustang team for driver Darrell Wallace Jr.

2015: Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Chevrolet SS) - In 35 races, the Elk Grove, CA driver led 115 laps, scored two top-fives, 10 top-10s, had a 13.3 average start, a 19.3 average finish, earned 872 points and closed out the season 19th in the standings. In 14 XFINITY Series starts (HScott Motorsports #42 Chevrolet Camaro), Larson scored nine top-10s including a win in the season finale at Homestead. He also drove JR Motorsports #00 Chevrolet Silverado in the Chicagoland truck series race; started 1st (not a pole, no time trials, rain), led 49 laps, finished seventh.  Finally, in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Larson was part of the winning Ganassi Racing team (Larson, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Jamie McMurray) in 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Best 2015 start: 1st – Kentucky 7/11 (Not a pole, no time trials, rain)
Best 2015 finish: 3rd – Dover 5/13
Last career NSCS win: None so far.
2016: Larson is contracted thru 2017 with the Ganassi #42 Chevrolet team. Sponsors Target, Coca-Cola, AXE and others all return as well. Chris Heroy, Larson’s crew chief for the past two years, left to lead Brian Scott’s #9 Ford team at Richard Petty Motorsports. He has been replaced by Chad Johnston, former crew chief for Tony Stewart (Stewart Haas Racing #14 Chevrolet).

NSCS UPDATES:
- Dave Rogers, who was crew chief for Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota Camry) will now lead the #19 team in 2016 with driver Carl Edwards.
- Mike Wheeler, who spent 10 years with the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 team before becoming crew chief for JGR's #20 XFINITY Series team in 2015, will return to work with driver Denny Hamlin in 2016.
- Darian Grubb, who served as crew chief on the JGR #19 Sprint Cup Series team last season, is currently exploring several opportunities for the 2016 season.

NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS):
2015
: David Starr (TriStar Motorsports #44 Toyota Camry) - In 33 races, the  Houston, TX driver led nine laps, scored one top-10, had a 26.8 average start, a 22.5 average finish, earned 713 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings.
Best 2015 starts: 18th – Daytona 2/21 and Talladega 5/2
Best 2015 finish: 6th – Daytona 2/21
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: Starr is contracted to drive TriStar’s #44 Toyota Camry with Zachry Group sponsorship thru the 2017 season.

2015: Ross Chastain (JD Motorsports #4 Chevrolet Camaro) – In 33 races, the Alva, FL driver led six laps, scored four top-10s, had a 23.3 average start, a 20.3 average finish, earned 785 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 11th – Kentucky 9/26
Best 2015 finish: 9th – Daytona 2/21
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: Chastain will return to JD Motorsports to drive the #4 Camaro. No firm plans on sponsorship at this time, but the rest of the team, including crew chief Gary Cogswell, remain the same.

2015: Jeremy Clements (Jeremy Clements Racing #51 Chevrolet Camaro) – In 33 races, the Spartanburg, SC driver led two laps, scored one top-10, had a 21.7 average start, a 19.8 average finish, earned 801 points and closed out the season 14th in the standings.
Best 2015 start: 7th – Kentucky 9/26
Best 2015 finish: 10th – Dover 5/30
Last career NXS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans at this time but Clements will most likely return for another full season in his own #51 Camaro.

NXS UPDATES:
- Scott Graves, who won the NXS title with Chris Buescher and was expected to guide the champ through his rookie season in Sprint Cup, has parted ways with Roush Fenway Racing.  Graves will guide the #18 Arris Toyota and NXS 2015 Rookie of the Year Daniel Suarez at Joe Gibbs Racing. Graves replaces Eric Phillips who will remain at JGR.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS):
2015
: Travis Kvapil (Mark Beaver’s #1 and #50 Chevrolet Silverado - 20 races and Premium Motorsports’ #94 Silverado  - 1 race) – In 21 races, the Janesville, WI driver led two laps, had a 23.6 average start, a 21.4 average finish, earned 477 points and closed out the season 16th in the standings. Kvapil made 12 attempts at Sprint Cup Series starts for four different teams. He made the field in only four with a best finish of 32nd in the GoFas Racing #32 Ford Fusion.
Best 2015 start: 2nd – Daytona 2/20
Best 2015 finishes: 14th – Gateway 6/13 and Kentucky 7/9
Last career NCWTS win: Las Vegas on September 22, 2007.
2016: No firm plans in any series at this time.

2015: Brandon Jones (GMS Racing #33 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 17 races, the Atlanta, GA driver led 12 laps, scored four top-fives, eight top-10s, had an 8.9 average start, a 14.4 average finish, earned 482 points and closed out the season 15th in the standings. In five XFINITY Series starts in the Richard Childress Racing #33 Chevrolet Camaro, which he shared with five other drivers, he scored one top-five and two top-10s with a best finish of fifth. Jones also made two K&N Pro Series East starts in NTS Motorsports #33 Silverado; finished fifth and 15th. In the ARCA Racing Series, Jones split the ride with veteran Frank Kimmel in Venturini Motorsports #25 Toyota. During his 10 turns in the car, he scored five top-fives, seven top-10s, had an average start of 8.3 and an average finish of 7.9. This earned Jones a 15th place in the final ARCA Series championship standings.
Best 2015 starts: 3rd – Kansas 5/8, Bristol 8/19 and Las Vegas 10/3
Best 2015 finishes: 2nd – Iowa 6/19 and Talladega 10/24
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2016: Jones moves to the XFINITY Series full-time with Richard Childress Racing. No firm plans on which RCR team/car number/crew chief Jones will be assigned. Also, no announced plans on Jones participating any other NASCAR Series or the ARCA Racing Series. Johnny Sauter has been hired to drive the GMS #33 truck in 2016.

2015: Mason Mingus (Billy Boat Motorsports #15 Chevrolet Silverado) – In 21 races, the Brentwood, TN driver led four laps, scored one top-five, three top-10s, had a 17.4 average start, a 19.0 average finish, earned 527 points and closed out the season 14th in the standings. In the XFINITY Series, Mingus drove the Obaika Racing #97 Chevrolet Camaro in four races. He finished 24th in three of them and 26th in the other.
Best 2015 start: 8th – Las Vegas 10/3
Best 2015 finish: 3rd – Talladega 10/24
Last career NCWTS win: None so far.
2016: No firm plans in any series at this time.

2016 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

Busch Beer/Jimmie Johns/diTech Mortgage

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Great Clips/

LiftMaster/Quicken Loans

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

7

Alex Bowman

Nikko RC/Toy State

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

9

Brian Scott *

Shore Lodge/White Tail/Albertson’s

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery/Aspen Dental/ TaxACT/Mobil 1

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/BluDEF

Chevrolet

HScott Motorsports

16

Greg Biffle

Cheez-It

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal/Zest/Fifth Third Bank/Safety Kleen

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

19

Carl Edwards

Arris/Stanley/Sport Clips/Subway/Comcast

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General/DeWalt

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Ryan Blaney *

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

Team Penske

24

Chase Elliott *

NAPA Auto Parts/3M/Kelley Blue Book

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menards

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar/WIX/Grainger

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Bobby Labonte

C&J Energy Services (4 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

32

Jeffrey Earnhardt *

Can-Am (11 races)

Ford

GoFAS Racing

34

Chris Buescher *

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation/

State Water Heaters

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Kyle Larson

Target/Energizer/Coca-Cola/AXE/Clorox

Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

46

Michael Annett

Pilot Flying J

Chevrolet

HScott Motorsports

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger/Scott Products/ Kingsford Charcoal/Bush’s Baked Beans

Chevrolet

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row

Toyota

Furniture Row Racing

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide/Axalta Coatings/TaxSlayer.com/

Diet Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

 

 

* Rookie of The Year candidate

 

 

 

 

Part-time/Questionable teams

 

 

23

???

???

Toyota

BK Racing

26

???

???

Toyota

BK Racing

35

???

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

38

???

???

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

40

???

???

Chevrolet

Joe Falk Racing

62

???

???

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

83

???

Burger King/Dr. Pepper

Toyota

BK Racing

95

Michael McDowell

K-LOVE/Thrivent Financial

Ford

Leavine Family Racing

98

???

???

Chevrolet

Premium Motorsports

99

???

???

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

 

 


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/look-ahead/look-ahead-cup-racing-55