Roush Fenway Racing Downsizes; Chris Buescher To Use Charter At JTG Daugherty Racingby Hunter Thomas November 29, 2016 0 comments
On Tuesday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that its 2017 NASCAR Cup Series lineup will include Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne, while Chris Buescher will run the No. 16 charter at JTG Daugherty Racing.
Since 1996, team owner Jack Roush has been fielding at least three full-time cars in the NASCAR Cup Series, but last week, Greg Biffle, who had been competing for the organization’s premier series operation since 2002 departed from the team, leaving only Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne on the driver lineup.
“We have been able to shore up our plans for 2017 and we feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results,” said Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush in a team press release. “We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season, and we will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front.”
Stenhouse Jr. finished out the 2016 season 21st in the point standings with four top-five and six top-10 finishes. His best result of the season came at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, when he piloted the No. 17 Lenox/Fastenal Bryan Clauson Tribute Ford Fusion to a runner-up finish. Brian Pattie will lead the team from atop the pit box in 2017. Pattie was the crew chief for Biffle, but next season he’ll be calling the shots for Stenhouse Jr. Nick Sandler, who was the crew chief for the No. 17 Ford Fusion in 2015 and 2016 will move to the Director of Engineering position at Roush Fenway Racing.
As for Trevor Bayne, he finished out 2016 22nd in the standings with two top-five and five top-10 finishes. Bayne’s best finish of the 2016 season came in July, when he finished third at Daytona International Speedway. In 2017, Matt Puccia will return as the crew chief for the No. 6 Ford Fusion.
Roush Fenway Racing also announced on Tuesday that Kevin Kidd will become the organization’s Competition Director, and Tommy Wheeler will become the Operations Director.
With Biffle parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing will expand to two full-time teams and lease the No. 16 charter to field 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, Chris Buescher. AJ Allmendinger will return to the team as well. JTG Daugherty Racing debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2009 with driver Marcos Ambrose, and since then, the team has only fielded one full-time team.
JTG Daugherty Racing issued the following statement via Twitter on Tuesday:
“We can confirm at this time that JTG Daughtery Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series,” JTG Daughtery Racing team owner Tad Geschickter said. “We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car. More details will follow.”
During the 2016 season, AJ Allmendinger captured two top-five and nine top-10 finishes to conclude the year 19th in the standings. Allmendinger’s highest finish of the year came at Martinsville Speedway back in April, when he crossed the finish line in the second position.
In his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season, Chris Buescher captured his first career win at Pocono Raceway in August. The Front Row Motorsports driver finished out the year by making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and finishing 16th in the championship standings. Front Row Motorsports has yet to announce its plans for the vacated No. 34 Ford Fusion that Buescher piloted in 2016.
JTG Daugherty Racing also tweeted the following statement on behalf of Chris Buescher:
“I can confirm that I have signed to race for JTG Daughtery Racing as they expand to a two-car team in the NASCAR premier series in 2017,” Chris Buescher said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase. More details to follow.”
The NASCAR Cup Series “Silly Season” is beginning to get fired up. With the Daytona 500 only being 89 days away, expect to see many more teams announce their driver lineups, internal shake ups and sponsorship announcements within the coming months.