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HScott Motorsports Will Not Compete in NASCAR in 2017

After months of speculation, Harry Scott, owner of HScott Motorsports officially announced on Monday that the team would not compete during the 2017 NASCAR season.

In a deal finalized last week, the No. 15 charter used for Clint Bowyer, which was owned by HScott Motorsports, has been sold to Premium Motorsports. The charter that was leased for the No. 46 car and Michael Annett was sold by Premium Motorsport to Furniture Row Racing for the No. 77 car that will be driven by Erik Jones next season.

Bowyer will be moving to the No. 14 Ford and StewartHaas Racing this upcoming season while Annett will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the XFINITY Series.

Scott released a statement regarding the decision not to field a team next season.

“One thing I learned about NASCAR is that it is a ‘people business.’ I will forever be grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Racing successful. This includes our dedicated employees, sponsors and partners. We were fortunate to have the support of world-class sponsors like Brandt, DC Solar, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Pilot Flying J, and 5 hour ENERGY. Our racing program would not have been possible without the assistance of Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports, and Chevrolet.

“I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports.”

“Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N Series teams, including four consecutive championships and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years. My hope is that we were able to develop drivers that will thrive at the highest levels for years to come.”

 EMAIL JUSTIN at tuckerjustin65@yahoo.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @JustinTuckerWeb

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Furniture Row Adds Jones for 2017; Will Need A Charter

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Furniture Row Racing announced on Sunday that Erik Jones will compete full-time in the 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season driving a second car for the Denver-based organization.

Jones, the 20-year-old star for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series, will drive the No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota as a teammate to Sprint Cup veteran Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 78 Toyota. Jones won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title for Kyle Busch Motorsports and currently leads the XFINITY Chase standings in the JGR No. 20 Toyota with three victories.

Jones is signed to a one-year contract with FRR for 2017. Since the organization has only one charter spot in the 36-team system, the newly-formed No. 77 team will not be guaranteed into every race next season unless a second charter is acquired.

“There are several charters out there that we are hearing are available,” team owner Barney Visser said. “We’ve been looking at some, but we don’t know where exactly where we are going to be on that. We are going to get a charter, but we’re not sure who we are going to get it from yet.”

The inevitable purchase of a charter is more likely to come from a smaller Cup team when the 2016 season concludes, so here are some potential charters for sale when the NASCAR offseason begins in November:

HSCOTT Motorsports No. 15

HSM fields two chartered teams in the Cup Series, but their 2017 plans are unknown. Clint Bowyer signed with HSM to drive the No. 15 Chevrolet for one year in a placeholder position until he can join Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Bowyer will take over Tony Stewart’s seat in the No. 14 Ford as the three-time Cup champion will retire from Cup racing after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As for HSM, there’s a lot of unknowns for next year, and they may not return to Cup at all in 2017.

Premium Motorsports No. 55/98

Premium Motorsports agreed to a one-year deal to let HSM’s No. 46 Chevrolet have a guaranteed spot in every 2016 Cup race. The No. 46’s driver, Michael Annett, has had a less-than-spectacular tenure in two seasons with HSM and his average finish in 2016 is 32nd. His contract with HSM is up when the 2016 campaign ends so he will be looking for a 2017 Cup ride. The No. 46 charter will return to Premium when the season ends so the team could decide to sell the charter again but to FRR this time.

GoFas Racing No. 32

The No. 32 has not qualified for every race since the start of 2013, but the team has attempted every one of them since then, which was the requirement for a team to be granted a charter when NASCAR created the agreement in February. The small Cup team could decide to sell just as Premium did for HSM in February, but this scenario seems less likely as it has a multi-year deal with Jeffrey Earnhardt to run a majority of the races in the coming seasons.

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement. 

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Home Tracks

K&N East: Rico Abreu Posts First Career NASCAR Top-10

GREENVILLE, S.C. — To get better and better…

From Day One, that has been the stated goal for Rico Abreu as he continues his transition from open-wheel to NASCAR and the K&N Pro Series East for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks this season.

The defending Chili Bowl champion entered the weekend believing that anything less than a top-10 would be a disappointment. The Chip Ganassi development driver achieved that goal, posting his first top-10 in NASCAR with a hard fought ninth-place finish on Saturday night in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway.

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The results are impressive given that the Whitaker 150 was just the ninth stock car race of his career and second in K&N Pro Series competition. Abreu improved by eight spots from his tour debut six weeks ago at New Smyrna Speedway, leaving him generally satisfied with his performance.

“It was good,” Abreu said. “I just tried to keep my nose clean the entire race and be aggressive at times. I got caught on the outside a few times and had to backtrack a little but I had several good restarts on the bottom too.”

It’s worth noting that literally everything is still new to Abreu this season. Despite a remarkable national dirt sprint car and open wheel resume, this was only his ninth career start in a full-bodied race car.

“These pavement tracks are so line sensitive compared to dirt tracks,” Abreu said. “It’s all a learning process and trying to get better and better. I have a great team behind me in (owners) Harry Scott, Justin Marks and (crew chief) Mardy Lindley … It’s good to see that support.”

Abreu qualified well at New Smyrna in February but struggled mightily on restarts and in heavy traffic. He cited issues with his right elbow during shifting as the culprit in both his Super Late Model and Pro Series car.

As a result, he shifted his seat inside the cockpit and redesigned his shifter. Abreu said the results were overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s night and day difference,” Abreu said. “We shouldn’t have any more problems shifting. I’m going to keep getting more and more comfortable and hopefully we’ll be winning races before long.”

Rico cockpit

Abreu says his car and team were better than ninth on Saturday night, especially considering his teammate (William Byron) went to Victory Lane. But the improvements has him leaving South Carolina with increased confidence.

“I know we’re better than ninth,” Abreu said. It’s just trying to figure out how to pass guys and how to pick them off on restarts. That’s where you gain most of your track position in these races and I just have to figure it out.

“The Sprint Car (races have) single file restarts and that’s something I do every weekend. And now I’m racing against guys where this is what they do every weekend.”

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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