Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for the Off Season

Did you spend the last few months sleeping so you missed all the off-season news and changes for the new year? Well, don’t fret. The 2019 break down featuring driver changes, paint schemes, and your 2019 Rookie of the Year class is here, so buckle up.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Six current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be with new teams beginning in 2019. In numerical order by car number they are as follows:
Credit: Chip Ganassi Racing

Driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet – Kurt Busch will once again be driving a Chevrolet, piloting the No. 1 for Chip Ganassi Racing. Busch spent five seasons driving the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing.
It is a one-year deal for the 2004 Champion with sponsorship from Monster Energy.
Credit: Roush Fenway Racing

Driver of the No. 6 Ford – Ryan Newman will be the new driver of the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing starting in 2019.  The 2011 Daytona 500 Champion, Trevor Bayne, and 2003 Monster Energy Series Champion, Matt Kenseth, split the seat in 2018.
Oscar Mayer will be the primary sponsor for Newman. His crew chief will be Scott Graves.
Credit: Martin Truex Jr.

Driver of the No. 19 Toyota – After the closure of Furniture Row Racing, Martin Truex Jr. heads to another championship caliber team to start the new year, where he hopes to become the fourth driver to win a title for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Truex will be sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and Auto-Owners Insurance in 2019. Cole Pearn will once again call the shots from atop the pit box.

Credit: Stewart-Haas Racing

Driver of the No. 41 Ford – Daniel Suarez will join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2019, driving the No. 41 vacated by Kurt Busch. 
Suarez will be sponsored by ARRIS and Haas Automation. He makes the switch after two years with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Credit: Leavine Family Racing

Driver of the No. 95 Toyota – Matt DiBenedetto takes over the No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing. The team switched manufacturers for the 2019 season and partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing for a technical alliance.
DiBenedetto will be sponsored by Procore. In addition, Mike Wheeler, former crew chief for Denny Hamlin, joins the team as crew chief.
New Faces in the MENCS:
The start of a new season also brings some new faces to the series. These new Monster Energy Series drivers will be battling it out for Rookie of the Year honors.
Three of the four candidates are former full-time Xfinity Series drivers, all who had successful seasons in 2018.
Credit: Richard Childress Racing

Driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet – Daniel Hemric joins Richard Childress Racing to drive the No. 8, which was formerly the No. 31.
Hemric is coming off a stellar season in the Xfinity Series, where he finished third in the championship standings. He had 16 top-five finishes and 23 top 10s, while leading 440 laps and collecting nine stage wins.
Hemric will be sponsored by Caterpillar. Luke Lambert will remain the crew chief.
Driver of the No. 36 Ford – Matt Tifft joins Front Row Motorsports in 2019 driving the No. 36.
Tifft finished sixth in the 2018 Xfinity Series standings, earning six top-five finishes and 19 top-10 finishes. He led 38 laps throughout the season and collected one stage victory.
Tifft will be sponsored by Tunity, and Mike Kelley will be the crew chief.
Credit: JTG Daugherty Racing

Driver of the No. 47 Chevrolet – Ryan Preece made headlines in 2018 when he took advantage of the opportunity he was given by Joe Gibbs Racing.
Preece piloted the No. 18 Toyota for JGR in 15 events in 2018, and took his Rheem-sponsored Toyota to Victory Lane in just his third start. In addition, he earned seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes.
In 2019, Preece will drive the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing. He will have full-time sponsorship from Kroger.
Driver of the No. 97 Toyota – Tanner Berryhill competed in two MENCS events in 2018, scoring a best finish of 31st place at Phoenix in November.
Berryhill will return to Obaika Racing in 2019 to compete for Rookie of the Year.
Xfinity Series:
Ross Chastain will split time between two rides in the Xfinity Series in 2019. Chastain, who was previously set to drive the No. 42 Chevy for Chip-Ganassi Racing, will spend 30 races with JD Motorsports. RM Parks, Inc, EZ Angus Ranch and MC Divitt Sign Company will sponsor Chastain in all five West Coast races throughout the season.
Chastain will pilot the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing in three events: Daytona on February 16th, Chicagoland on June 29th, and the November 2nd playoff race at Texas. Chastain will be sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions.
Driver of the No. 11 Chevolet - Justin Haley joins Kaulig Racing driving the No. 11 Chevrolet. He will be sponsored by LeafFilter.
Driver of the No. 35 Toyota – Joey Gase joins MBM Motorsports in 2019. He will pilot the No. 35 full-time, with sponsorship from Eternal Fan.
During the off-season, two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he will be returning for one Xfinity Series event. In addition, Earnhardt announced that the number he made famous in the Cup Series will be returning to JR Motorsports for the upcoming season.
Seven drivers, including Earnhardt at Darlington Raceway, will pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet. Jeb Burton, Spencer Gallagher, Preece, Zane Smith, and Ryan Truex will fill the seat throughout the season.
Chase Elliott will be in the No. 8 at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Earnhardt’s Xfinity Series drivers will sport new numbers in the upcoming year, except for the No. 7 Chevrolet driven by Justin Allgaier.
JR Motorsports lineup is as follows:
No. 1 Pilot Flying J- Michael Annett
No. 9 Armour – Noah Gragson
Gander Outdoor Truck Series:
The Truck Series gets a new name in 2019 with Camping World parent company Gander Outdoors.
In addition, NASCAR announced on Monday, February 4th that the series will be getting an additional surge of energy, with the introduction of the Triple Truck Challenge – a three-race event that gives the NGOTS drivers the chance to win up to half a million dollars in bonus money.
The program is similar to the Xfinity Series’ Dash 4 Cash program and is slated to begin on June 7th at Texas and run through the June 22nd race at Gateway Motorsports Park.  
Defending Champion Brett Moffitt joins GMS Racing in 2019, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet.
Brennan Poole joins On Point Motorsports in 2019 driving the No. 30 Toyota. Poole had two successful campaigns in the Xfinity Series in 2016 and 2017, finishing eighth and sixth in the Xfinity Series playoff standings, respectively.
Austin Hill will pilot the No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises, after the team announced Moffitt would not return due to funding. Hill brings sponsorship from United Rentals to HRE.
Young Motorsports has signed Tyler Dippel and Gus Dean to its lineup for the 2019 season.
Dippel made his series debut last year at Eldora Speedway, where he finished in the 13th position.
Dean has participated in the ARCA Racing Series full time for the past two years, earning two victories, 12 top-five finishes, and 24 top 10s.
Dean will race full-time for Young Motorsports, with sponsorship from LG HVAC and Baker Distributing

Rule Changes/New Cars/New Roles
Beginning in 2019, NASCAR post-race inspection will take place at the track instead of at the R&D center in North Carolina.
Teams in violation of the NASCAR rule book will be disqualified and stripped of their position, a process that officials estimate to take between 90 minutes and two hours after the race has ended.
NASCAR has not completely disqualified a race winner since April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis was found with an oversized fuel tank. 

Ford and Toyota will introduce new car models in 2019, with Ford debuting the Mustang in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 and Toyota debuting the Supra during the Xfinity Series NASCAR Racing Experience 300 on Saturday, February 16th.

Ford revealed its new Mustang late last year with three-time MENCS champion, Tony Stewart. Despite Mustang’s long history in auto racing, it has never competed at NASCAR’s highest level. It has been the official Ford model in NASCAR’s second-tier series since 2011.

Toyota made its reveal for the new season back in July at Daytona International Speedway. It will feature a NASCAR-specific V8 engine and chassis design. Unlike Ford’s Mustang, the Toyota Supra has no previous association with NASCAR, the model last went out of production in 2007.

Former Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray will take part in the Great American Race for one final time before hanging up his firesuit and transitioning into a television role with FOX Sports. McMurray, who finished 18th in the 2018 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will drive the No. 40 for Spire Motorsports. He will be sponsored by McDonald’s and Cessna.

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Before she even knew what NASCAR was, Courtney Horn watched the races while sitting in her father’s lap. When she attended her first race at Talladega, her love for the sport grew even stronger.

Courtney writes Trackin' Trucks and the new monthly column, Cool Down Laps, which recaps the month in NASCAR.





Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for the Off Season Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for the Off Season Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Friday, February 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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