(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner: ‘certainly a possibility’ team grows to two cars

1 Comment

Tad Geschickter, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, says it is “certainly a possibility” his team may expand to two cars in 2017.

Geschickter said “the economics” of charter acquisition will play into a decision, which the team might “have that done next week.” He made the comments on SiriusXM Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. JTG Daugherty Racing fields the No. 47 Chevrolet driven by AJ Allmendinger.

“That’s a big decision,” Geschickter said of adding a team to the organization. “Certainly we’re weighing out all the options right now. It’s no secret that we have to figure out are there are charters available and their cost, are there drivers available, what do they cost and certainly we ultimately have to report back to the sponsors and pull the trigger. Luckily with a company the size of Richard Childress Racing helping us, there’s the opportunity to get the cars ready.”

JTG Daugherty is part of a technical alliance with RCR.

“But it’s Nov. 1, (eventually) we’ve got to make the call, but it’s a huge decision for a company of our size,” said Geschickter.

Charters are what guarantee a team a spot in the 40-car field in Sprint Cup races. Only 36 charters are available, leaving four slots for unchartered teams. Geschickter said there’s “definitely a possibility” the team could show up at Daytona in February with an unchartered team.

“I think it still remains to be seen how the economics of these charter trades work,” Geschickter said. “Certainly, at 54, having done this 22 years, I don’t want to lose money racing, and I want to put the money into cars. There is a value to a sponsor going to Daytona and knowing they’re in the Daytona 500. There’s also a value to the sponsor using their money to go faster. I think that’s really interesting about this whole equation is the charters that may be in play and maybe traded. There’s just a huge variance in how people are valuing them and looking at them. I think they’re well worth it, just not worth it on some of those numbers.”

And if JTG Daugherty does expand to a two-team operation, choosing a driver to pilot the new addition will come down to sponsors and chemistry with Allmendinger. The No. 47 has been driven by Allmendinger since 2013.

“AJ’s the guy that got us here,” Geschickter said. “I think it’s important that AJ have someone he feels like he has a similar feel to, a communication style with that he’d enjoy being a teammate with. To me that’s first and foremost. We’re fortunate to have a lot of companies put their logos on our car. I think that’s the next consideration, the spokesman you feel comfortable with and would like. Ultimately, my decision doesn’t matter. I think I would focus on those two areas first as we’re talking to a driver.”

NASCAR America: Matt DiBenedetto on Indy success with small team

Leave a comment

Matt DiBenedetto has just three top-10 finishes in his three years of competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. But two of them have come this year in two of the biggest races in the sport.

DiBenedetto, who drives the No. 32 Ford for Go Fas Racing, finished ninth in the Daytona 500 in February and eighth in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

DiBenedetto, who was also celebrating his 26th birthday, joined NASCAR America to discuss his run at Indy and what is considered a successful race for his team, which has 15 crew members.

“You’ve got to keep it in the perception of your versions of wins are a little bit different than everybody else’s version,” DiBenedetto said. “We look at it as who we’re racing around. I would say on a regular week where there’s not a ton of chaos like Indy was, a top 20 is a really good day. A top 25 is if we just do our job.”

Watch the video for the full segment.

Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger unveil Darlington throwback schemes

NASCAR
1 Comment

Both Chase Elliott and AJ Allmendinger have revealed the paint schemes they’ll drive in the Sept. 3 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Elliott will use his No. 24 Chevrolet to pay tribute to the car his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, drove in his first Cup start.

The light blue look was on his No. 9 car when he started in the Feb. 29, 1976 race at Rockingham Speedway.

The car was revealed on Facebook in the below video.

AJ Allmendinger will pay tribute to two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte with his No. 47 Chevrolet.

The car will resemble the No. 44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile that Labonte drove in during the 198 Cup season when he competed for owner Billy Hagan.

NASCAR America: Felix Sabates: ‘I’m lucky to be here’ after near-death experience from illness last year

Leave a comment

For nearly a month last year Felix Sabates was at death’s door.

The fears were so great that Sabates might not wake up from a coma he spent 29 days in, Chip Ganassi bought a blue suit for the possibility he might have to attend his co-owner’s funeral.

But the 71-year-old made a full recovery through a rehab process that included learning to walk again.

NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty and Sabates have a special relationship. Petty drove the No. 42 car for Sabates’ SABCO Racing for eight years in the 1980s and 1990s, winning six of his eight Cup races for the millionaire owner from Cuba.

Sabates sat down with Petty to discuss the ordeal, which began in January 2016 when Sabates began feeling ill during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I came home and woke up the next morning and I (couldn’t) breath,” said Sabates, who drove himself to the hospital. “The minute they saw me I was in intensive care.”

Sabates was in the hospital for two and half weeks before he was released, but Sabates “should’ve know I wasn’t cured.”

The Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner returned to his usual grind until it caught up to him in August.

“My blood pressure was through the roof, my oxygen level was 55, which you should be dead then,” recalled Sabates, who has no memory of a three-month stretch. “They thought was I was brain-dead. They were pretty much going to disconnect me. So 4 o’clock in the morning, they took my tubes out.”

That’s when Sabates began the process of waking up.

“I’m lucky to be here,” said Sabates, who aside from being back at the track is also back to playing golf.

“I used to worry about little things,’ Sabates said. “Now I don’t even worry about big things.”

The full feature will air Sunday on Countdown to Green, which begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN before the Cup race at Pocono.

NASCAR America: Ryan Blaney glad Team Penske news is finally out in the open

Leave a comment

On Wednesday it was finally announced that Ryan Blaney would move from Wood Brothers Racing to Team Penske full-time next year in the Cup Series in the No. 12 Ford while Paul Menard will take over the No. 21 Ford.

NASCAR America’s Dave Burns caught up with Blaney on Thursday. Blaney was happy that his 2018 plans were finally public knowledge.

Blaney also acknowledged how a technical alliance between the two teams helped Wood Brothers Racing return to a competition level that allowed Blaney to get his first Cup win this season earlier this year.

“That was a big deal,” Blaney said. “That was getting us to where we could run a full-time season. That was really helpful not only to me but to (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins, will be coming with me to the 12 car.”

Blaney has been driving for Team Penske part-time in the Xfinity Series since 2012.

“It’s been nice to get the news and tell everybody finally about what we’re doing,” Blaney said. “But mainly we’re trying to finish this year out strong with the Wood Brothers, getting their 100th win, that’s really big. That’s on my bucket list for this year and getting as far as we can in the playoffs.”

The No. 21 team returns to Pocono Raceway this weekend, the site of Blaney’s first Cup win last month.

Watch the video for the full interview.