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NASCAR Cup Series

Preece Eager for Rookie Challenge

Ryan Preece is set for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season after landing a full-time ride with JTG Daugherty Racing. After AJ Allmendinger’s departure following 2018, Preece joins the team as a contender for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

Preece had five Cup starts in 2015 while driving for Premium Motorsports with his best finish being 32nd at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His road to NASCAR’s top series was a challenge that he was able to eventually overcome.

“I think the way I came up was the way … I mean it prepares you. I’ve been working and learning race cars and then winning,” Preece said. “Learning to be a winner. I wouldn’t want to come up any other way. It’s gotten me, what I feel, prepared for where I am now to be ready for those restarts, be ready for situations that I’ve been in.”

His decision to leave JD Motorsports following the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season led him to a part-time stint with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 and 2018. That’s where Preece was able to take advantage of the equipment he had to show people his unique talent.

The No. 47 team has not ran where they intended too in the past season so a fresh driver brings new ideas to the mix.

“I’m doing the Vegas test, so we are going to see where we stack up and kind of go through some changes, figure out what we like, what we don’t like and where we can be better,” Preece said. “That is really going to kick off our season.”

It will also be the first time that Preece will be able to try new aero package that will be implemented on the Cup cars for the 2019 campaign.

“I think it’s a reset button like I said, but there is always going to be that one team that is going to figure something out and you never know who it’s going to be,” Preece said. The new aero package is something I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be a little different.”

For Preece, he will have to compete with Matt Tift, Tanner Berryhill and Daniel Hemric for this year’s rookie trophy. His top competition is Hemric who will be piloting the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Hemric having ran a few cup races last season with the same team gives him an advantage over Preece.

Rookie seasons can be roller coaster rides for drivers but Preece is ready for the challenge.

“I think it’s really going to come down to hard work,” Preece said. They have got all the pieces of the puzzle, I feel, at this point. Just putting them together and getting … you’ve got to have goals, you’ve got to start off top 15’s, top 10’s, top fives and when you are consistently there that is when the wins will come.”

It’s going to be a challenge for Preece, but he wants to see improvement every week.

“If there is progression, I’m happy and we will keep on progressing and never fall behind,” Preece said.

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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 other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

AJ Allmendinger Records Another Strong Martinsville Finish

AJ Allmendinger picked up his second top-10 finish of 2017 in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his third consecutive at the half-mile.

The driver of the No. 47 started 30th and methodically raced his way into contention, recording a sixth-place finish. After the event, Allmendinger attributed his success to his road course background.

“It’s for sure a little bit like road course racing,” Allmendiner told POPULAR SPEED. “I just think driver can make a bit more of a difference here.  You know, get to the mile-and-a-half, two mile racetracks, aero is a lot of it.  That’s something we’re continuously working on.  We worked hard on the west coast swing.  We learned a lot.  Finishes didn’t show it but felt like we learned a lot aero-wise for those bigger racetracks.  Coming here, it’s just about, got to have a good car.  This car was freaking hooked up.  Once we got it right, long runs, it was just an awesome racecar.”

Allmendinger added this was the first race back for crew chief Randall Burnett, who got suspended for three races due to a lug nut violation at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Can’t thank everyone at Kroger, Click List, all of our associates, everybody at the shop, Randall Burnett, have him back after the suspension,” he added.  “I wish we would have stayed green for about 120 laps because I think I could have ate these guys alive.  All in all, solid day.”

While he leaves Martinsville pleased, Allmendinger feels there is still work to be done before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway.

“Texas is so different, brand new racetrack now,” Allmendinger stated.  “More aero-dependent.  We’ve got to work on it.  These Cup races, they’re hard to have great runs in.  So, any time you can have a great run, especially after the west coast swing, the penalty, all that, any time you get a good run, it’s important.”

Allmendinger unofficially sits 26th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points after Sunday’s STP 500.

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News

Suspensions, Points Penalties Levied Following Atlanta

Following last weekend’s NASCAR event Atlanta Motor Speedway, three teams have been handed down penalties.

The No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team of AJ Allmendinger was assessed an L1-level penalty for lug nuts not properly installed following Sunday’s Cup Series races.

Allmendinger’s crew chief Randall Burnett was fined $65,000 and has been suspended for the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. The team was also docked 35 owner’s and driver’s points. The penalty drops Allmendinger from 11th to 35th in the driver’s standings heading into this weekend’s race at Las Vegas.

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series team was assessed an L1 penalty for failing to meet ride height requirements following Saturday’s XFINITY Series race at Atlanta.

Crew chief Scott Graves was fined $10,000 and was suspended for this weekend’s XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas. The No. 18 team was also docked 10 owner’s series points. Additionally, it makes the race victory an “encumbered finish,” meaning playoff-point perks from the win are meaningless in the XFINITY Series Owner’s Points  Standings as part of NASCAR’s new rules for 2017.

The No. 23 GMS Racing Truck Series team, which finished fifth with Chase Elliott, also was penalized following Saturday’s Truck Series race at Atlanta.

Crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz was fined $5,000 and suspended from the next Camping World Truck Series points race after the truck failed to meet post-race ride height requirements. Additionally, the team was assessed a safety violation for having lug nuts improperly installed. Stankiewicz was fined an additional $2,500 for that violation.

EMAIL JUSTIN at tuckerjustin65@yahoo.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 other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Chris Buescher to Drive for JTG Daugherty in 2017

After months of speculation, JTG Daugherty Racing announced on Tuesday that they would be fielding a second full-time team in the Cup Series next season with 2015 XFINITY Series Champion Chris Buescher behind the wheel.

Team owner Tad Geschickter confirmed the move today, saying, “We can confirm at this time that JTG Daugherty Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series. We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car.”

Buescher shocked the NASCAR world this past season by winning the Pennsylvania 400 in August for Front Row Motorsports, securing his and the team’s first ever Chase for the Sprint Cup berth. In his rookie season of competition last year, he scored a win and seven top-20 finishes en route to finishing 16th in points.

Buescher released the following statement regarding the move to JTG Daugherty Racing.

“I can confirm that I have signed to race for JTG Daugherty Racing as they expand to a two-car team in the NASCAR premier series in 2017. I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase.”

Buescher will be guaranteed to make the field in every Cup Series race in 2017 as JTG secured the charter from Roush Fenway Racing and the No. 16 team.

This will mark JTG Daugherty Racing’s first time entering two cars on a weekly basis since joining the Sprint Cup Series in 2009 with Marcos Ambrose. Through the years, the organization has won one race and scored 11 top-10s in 288 starts. This past season, they led A.J. Allmendinger to two top-fives and five top-10s en route to finishing 26th in points. Allmendinger has already confirmed he will be back with the team in 2017.

No details have been released regarding crew chief, sponsorship, and car number for the second JTG entry at this time.

 EMAIL JUSTIN at tuckerjustin65@yahoo.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 other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.