Trent Owens Joins JTG Daugherty Racing To Serve As Crew Chief For Chris Buescherby Hunter Thomas January 3, 2017 0 comments
Trent Owens will call the shots atop the pit box for Chris Buescher and JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during the 2017 season.
Owens began the new job on Monday, just two days before his 42nd birthday. He’s making the move to JTG Daugherty Racing after spending the last three seasons at Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). The opportunity at JTG Daugherty Racing marks the Darlington, South Carolina native’s second opportunity in NASCAR’s premier series.
“I was just really looking for another opportunity to get back onto the pit box at the Cup level, and JTG (Daugherty Racing) expanded to a second team with Chris Buescher, and fortunately for me, they called,” Owens said. “I did the interview process, and I got the job and started yesterday. I’m really looking forward to getting in here and seeing what this place is about, learning their system, trying to adapt and then working with the alliance with Richard Childress Racing, which they have. Everything looks promising, and I’m ready to get to Daytona, but I’m probably going to do some preparation before we start that.”
Since 2014, Owens has served as the crew chief for Aric Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports’ No 43 entry. Owens earned a win at Daytona International Speedway, as well as five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes while working with Almirola.
“I felt like when I started at RPM in ’14, we had an up and down season,” Owens said. “We did get the victory, and we had some great runs, but we didn’t have the consistency that we needed. Going into ’15, I felt like we gained and found that consistency and just had a really, really – if you look at the stats, a really solid season for the size of the race team that it is. Again in ’16, we decided to try and take more on our own and do our chassis. We just got a little behind, and we couldn’t really catch back up.”
Owens’ last race on top of the pit box during the 2016 season was at Richmond International Raceway’s Federated Auto Parts 400 in September. After capturing a 17th place finish in the last race before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Owens was replaced by Drew Blickensderfer. The team finished out the year 26th in the point standings. Back in December, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that the team was downsizing from a two-car team to just a single-car effort in 2017.
“When performance is down and things are suffering, I understand that my job position is one they take a look at, and the change happened, and it’s in the past,” Owens said. “I’ll take what I learned from that experience, which is a great experience, and take some of the mistakes that I feel like I may have made too and improve on that here at JTG and just move forward.”
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, JTG Daugherty Racing announced that the single-car team would be adding an additional team with driver, Chris Buescher. The Texas native will be a teammate with AJ Allmendinger, who pilots the No. 47 Chevrolet. The good news for Owens and Buescher is that their new team will be using a charter that was vacated by Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) No. 16 team. That means JTG Daugherty Racing will have a guaranteed spot in every race this upcoming season for both of their teams.
“It always feels good to be guaranteed in the race,” Owens said. “That pressure having to qualify for these races at this level is pretty intense. I didn’t want to go through what those guys at the Wood Brothers (Racing) had to go through most of the time. It’s not always just about speed, you know rain-outs and so forth, and things like that can get you out of the race. Definitely having the charter is a plus. It’s just weight off your shoulders when you go to any race.”
Trent Owens has a lot to look forward to in 2017. Chris Buescher is coming off the best season of his career. The 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion earned his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win with Front Row Motorsports in 2016 during the rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway in August. The win and a top-30 spot in the standings following Richmond International Raceway’s September race, catapulted Buescher into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He finished out the year 16th in the point standings with a win, two top-five and two top-10 finishes.
“I’ve spent some time with Chris, just because we were somewhat allianced with the RFR organization,” Owens said. “I’ll spend a little bit more time with him, because he’s going to be my driver, but yea, I think he ran very well, probably better than some anticipated last year. I think that towards the end of the season, he drove as competitive as anyone. I think getting into these race cars, you know AJ and the 47 crowd, they had an excellent finish to the season and a lot of speed in their race cars. I think that Chris is going to really excel behind the seat, and I can’t wait to work with him and to work on these race cars.”
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com