NASCAR's middle class speaks - Media Tour time with JTG-Daugherty and HScott
JTG-Daugherty Racing eyeing even better things to come in 2015
NASCAR just may have a middle class now. JTG-Daugherty Racing is coming off a 2014 where it saw its first Chase berth with driver A.J. Allmendinger winning the August Watkins Glen race. The team came within a point of advancing past the first round of the Chase and fairly close to finishing in the top 10 in points after Homestead. That is pretty good for a team that has struggled in the past, but the bar is set even higher for 2015.
- Team owner Tad Geschickter new three-year deal with Clorox/Kingsford and other brands. Team remains same. Co-owner Brad Daugherty says they have been working all offseason to improve and they need to win more. Geschickter thinks that the Race Team Alliance (RTA) has done a lot to help with costs for all teams, not just the big ones. Geschickter says the RTA should have a deal to save 10 cents per gallon on fuel for travel. He thinks that Allmendinger is a great driver and says that anytime they are struggling means the car is out of sync, but Allmendinger can drive. Their goal for 2015? Geschickter wants to finish with 15 top 10s. Only 13 teams did that in 2014. One thing that will improve the team, Geschickter says, is a new in-house communication system that will allow them to keep better track of the cars and setups. He says that at the September Dover race, the No. 47 struggled mightily and was found afterwards to have a bent truck arm. When they scanned the part number, they found that it should have been changed a long time ago. That mistake cost them a chance to advance to the next round of the Chase.
- Allmendinger says they need to be more consistent and that was partially because they made the move to Chevy/RCR satellite in mid-December and had to play catch-up. The new pit road video officiating system is going to be a big adjustment for the team, as Allmendinger says he never really paid much attention to the rules about driving through pit boxes.
- Crew chief Brian Burns is very complimentary of the working relationship they have with Richard Childress Racing as a satellite team. RCR builds their chassis at its shop and then JTG-Daugherty does the body work and compares it with that of its three teams. Burns is in favor of drivers' abilities now to adjust the trackbar in the racecar and neither he or Allmendinger is worried about the zero-testing policy NASCAR has reinstated.
HScott Motorsports doubling its Cup stable for 2015
A late offseason move suddenly leaves HScott Motorsports scrambling to get things ready in time for Daytona next month. After a mostly lackluster 2014 campaign with rookie driver Justin Allgaier and rookie Sprint Cup team owner Harry Scott, the small team is adding a driver and hoping to move forward. Here are some highlights from what they shared today.
- HScott Motorsports announces Michael Annett as new driver of the Pilot/Flying J Chevy. Annett departs Tommy Baldwin racing, where he spent his rookie 2014 season and says that things he cannot comment on behind the scenes at TBR prompted him to take this opportunity. Annett saw the finishes for Allgaier and the No. 51 team get progressively better through the year, especially in qualifying. He does not yet know his car number or crew chief, but mentions how cool driving the No. 28 would be because of that number's history.
- Brandt returns to Allgaier's No. 51 Chevy for most of 2015. Auto Owner's Insurance also joins the No. 51 for three races. Steve Addington serves as Allgaier's crew chief and team competition director. Allgaier says that the addition of a new teammate allows the team to try more new things and push the envelope more.
- Scott says having an additional car is really going to help the team. He says their goals are to consistently finish in the top 25. He has had a big offseason and has had to deal with court proceedings with fellow team co-owner Steve Turner. Because of their split, neither Scott nor Turner will field Truck Series teams. Scott says he worked hard to sell as much of his truck equipment as possible to fellow Chevy teams, including Joe Custer, who is running his son Cole in some NCWTS races. Scott says he is fielding five full-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams with the help of former driver Justin Marks. Scott also will field a Xfinity Series ride with the help of Chip Ganassi. Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski will share that No. 42 ride. Now that there is less for Scott to worry about - only one NXS team and no NCWTS teams - he feels less of a burden and even more prepared to run his now two-car Sprint Cup Series team.