Brian Pattie

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NASCAR ejects crew chiefs for JTG Daugherty Racing

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NASCAR ejected the crew chiefs for JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after an inspection issue was discovered before Saturday’s qualifying.

NASCAR also docked both drivers 10 points and each team 10 points for the L1 infraction. Both drivers also will move to the rear before the start of today’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. Stenhouse was to have started 10th. Preece was to have started 20th.

NASCAR ejected crew chiefs Trent Owens (Preece) and Brian Pattie (Stenhouse) after both teams violated Section 20.20 of the Rule Book: Assembled Vehicle Overall Rules. That section states: “Parts, systems, devices, omissions or component failures cannot affect what what should otherwise be the normal airflow over the body of the vehicle.”

“We are aware of the penalties handed down by NASCAR this morning at Auto Club Speedway,” car owner Tad Geschickter said in a statement. “Brian Burns will be the crew chief for Ryan Preece and the No. 37 team, and Eddie Pardue will be the crew chief for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 47 team. We have no plans to appeal the penalty at this time.”

 

What’s different in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020

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The fog of the offseason has begun to lift and the start of a new NASCAR season looms.

When the fog clears, we will be met with the 62nd Daytona 500 on Feb. 16.

But this won’t be the start of just another season in NASCAR’s premier series. It will have a very different landscape compared to when the 2019 season ended in Miami in November.

While there’s a lot to breakdown for the coming season, it’s all essentially a preamble for 2021, which will see the Cup Series with its Next Gen car and potentially a very different race schedule.

Here’s what the table looks like for the Cup Series heading into 2020.

New Era, New Names

After serving in the role for three years, Monster Energy is no longer the entitlement sponsor of the Cup Series. With its departure also comes the end of the Cup Series’ entitlement sponsor model that had been in place since 1971 beginning with Winston.

After five decades of being the Winston, Nextel, Sprint and finally the Monster Energy Cup Series, the premier series will simply be called the NASCAR Cup Series.

2020 marks the start of NASCAR’s premier partner program, which includes Xfinity, Coca-Cola, Geico and Busch Beer.

Farther down on the series ladder comes the official merger of the ARCA Menards Series with NASCAR and what had been its K&N Pro Series circuits. The regional series will now be called the ARCA Menards Series East and West.

A glimpse at what Martinsville Speedway will look like at night. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Shuffling the Schedule

There’s a lot of expectations for what the Cup Series schedule will look like in 2021 after the end of NASCAR’s current five-year agreement with tracks.

But 2020 also has plenty of groundbreaking schedule developments.

– Martinsville Speedway will host its first official Cup night race on May 9. The short track also will host the final playoff elimination race for all three national series, with the Cup race held Nov. 1.

– Pocono Raceway will be the site of the Cup Series’ first ever doubleheader weekend June 27-28. Saturday’s race will be preceded by a Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series event and Sunday begins with a Xfinity Series race.

– Daytona International Speedway will host the Cup regular season finale, moving its second date from the traditional July 4 weekend to Aug. 29. The July 4 weekend race is now held by Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Cup races there July 5).

– Darlington Raceway and the Southern 500 will open the Cup playoffs on Sept. 6. It’s joined in the opening round by Richmond Raceway and in the playoffs for the first time, Bristol Motor Speedway, which will be the first elimination race.

– After being the site of the first elimination race the last two seasons, the Charlotte Roval will be the Round of 12 elimination race (Oct. 11) and be preceded by Talladega Superspeedway.

–  After a nearly two-decade run, Homestead-Miami Speedway is no longer the site of the championship weekend. Its place is now held by Phoenix Raceway, with the Cup championship race scheduled for Nov. 8. Miami’s Cup race will be March 22.

– Other notable changes: The Xfinity Series will compete at Martinsville (Oct. 31) for the first time since 2004. The Truck Series returns to Richmond Raceway (April 18) for the first time since 2005.

Chevrolet

Chevrolet Remodel

Chevrolet Cup teams will appear in Daytona with a slightly different look to their cars.

Chevy will field its Camaro ZL1 1LE model in 2020, replacing the basic ZL1 model. One reason for the change is difficulties with the latter’s pointed nose when it came to pushing other cars at Daytona and Talladega compared to Ford and Toyota and their flatter noses.

Familiar Names, Different Teams

When the full Cup Series starting grid forms for the first time at the Daytona 500, there will be a lot familiar faces sporting new numbers with new teams. That includes a rather accomplished rookie class.

Matt DiBenedetto debuts with Wood Brothers Racing in the No. 21 Ford, moving over from Leavine Family Racing and taking over for Paul Menard, who retired from full-time racing.

–  After a decade with Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. begins the 2020s with his first season at JTG Daugherty Racing driving the No. 47 Chevrolet. Teammate Ryan Preece will drive the No. 37. Stenhouse will have Brian Pattie as his crew chief. Preece will work with Trent Owens.

Chris Buescher left JTG Daugherty Racing to return to Roush and race the No. 17 Ford, which was vacated by Stenhouse. Buescher will be paired with crew chief Luke Lambert.

Christopher Bell moves up from the Xfinity Series to drive Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Toyota along with crew chief Jason Ratcliff. Harrison Burton replaces Bell in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Xfinity car. 

Tyler Reddick was promoted by Richard Childress Racing to drive its No. 8 Cup car after winning the last two Xfinity Series titles. He moves up with crew chief Randall Burnett. Reddick replaces Daniel Hemric, who will drive a part-time Xfinity schedule for JR Motorsports.

Cole Custer and Mike Shiplett after their first win together in 2019. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

– Cole Custer and crew chief Mike Shiplett were promoted by Stewart-Haas Racing to take over its No. 41 Cup car, taking the place of Daniel Suarez. Suarez has not announced his plans for this season. SHR has not announced plans for its Xfinity program in 2020.

SHR also paired crew chief Mike Bugarewicz with Aric Almirola on the No. 10 and John Klausmeier with Clint Bowyer on the No. 14.

– Rookie John Hunter Nemechek takes over Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 Ford, which was driven by the now retired David Ragan. Nemechek is paired with Seth Barbour at crew chief.

– Rookie Brennan Poole will drive for Premium Motorsports full-time in the No. 15 car. 

– After making 17 Cup starts in 2019, Quin Houff will race full-time in StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet.

Joey Gase and J.J. Yeley will race full-time for Rick Ware Racing.

Martin Truex Jr. will have a new crew chief after the surprise resignation of Cole Pearn. The No. 19 team will be led by James Small.

Team Penske shook up its crew chief lineup for this year. Paul Wolfe will now work with Joey Logano, Jeremy Bullins is paired with Brad Keselowski and Todd Gordon is paired with Ryan Blaney.

Bubba Wallace also has a new crew chief. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver is reunited with Jerry Baxter, who he worked with in the Truck Series.

– Ryan Sparks joins Go Fas Racing after 13 years with Richard Childress Racing, primarily as an engineer, and will serve as crew chief for Corey LaJoie in the No. 32, replacing Randy Cox.

A Post-Jimmie Johnson World

Jimmie Johnson announced soon after the 2019 season finale that 2020 would be his final full-time Cup season.

That means the storyline of who will replace him in the No. 48 will simmer underneath the surface for much of the season. Who could succeed the seven-time champion?

Kyle Larson is entering the final season of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Erik Jones is racing on a one-year extension with Joe Gibbs Racing

Matt DiBenedetto is under a one-year deal with the Wood Brothers.

More possible candidates could include Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and others.

Building for the Future

Ford provided one of the biggest storylines of the offseason when it announced that Hailie Deegan was joining the manufacturer as a development driver after a few years spent in the Toyota pipeline.

Deegan will compete full-time in ARCA Menards Series with DGR-Crosley.

JTG Daugherty Racing reveals 2020 driver, crew chief lineup

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JTG Daugherty Racing announced Monday its driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Cup Series season, which will see Ricky Stenhouse Jr. take over the No. 47 Chevrolet, while Ryan Preece moves over to the No. 37 Chevrolet.

Stenhouse, who joins the team from Roush Fenway Racing, will work with Brian Pattie, the crew chief he had for his final three seasons with Roush. Two of Pattie’s six Cup wins were with Stenhouse, but the duo failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons.

“I’m very grateful to have Brian join me at JTG Daugherty Racing next season,” Stenhouse Jr. said in a press release. “Working together the past several seasons, our relationship away from the track has really developed and I know that will speed up the process of getting familiar and plugged into the team as quick as possible. He knows what I’m looking for and I know what he expects from me. This team is a great fit for both of us, and we’re looking forward to contributing to the success JTG Daugherty Racing has been building.”

Preece, who drove the No. 47 in his rookie year with two crew chiefs, Tristan Smith (30 races) and Eddie Pardue (six races), will be paired with Trent Owens. Owens has helmed the No. 37 team the last three seasons.

He helped lead Chris Buescher to four top-10 finishes and 12 top-15 finishes in 2019, improving the team’s average finishing position from 21.0 to 17.8.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Trent Owens this upcoming season,” Preece said in a press release. “Our teams worked closely together in 2019. It was impressive to see what he’s done with the No. 37 team the last three years. I really want to continue building on that and bringing both cars into the top 15 regularly next year.”

4 Cup crew chiefs penalized for Martinsville violations

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Four NASCAR Cup crew chiefs have been fined $10,000 each for lug nut violations discovered after Sunday’s playoff race at Martinsville Speedway.

Those penalized are:

* Chad Knaus, crew chief for the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by William Byron.

* Adam Stevens, crew chief for the No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch.

* Brian Pattie, crew chief for the No. 17 Ford driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

* Jeremy Bullins, crew chief for the No. 12 Ford driven by Ryan Blaney.

Also penalized was Team Penske crew member Dave Nichols Jr., who was involved in the post-race scuffle between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano and their respective teams. Nichols Jr. has been suspended from Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

There were no other penalties issued.

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Brian Pattie not returning to Roush Fenway Racing next season

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Brian Pattie, crew chief on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s No. 17 Ford, will not return to Roush Fenway Racing next year, the team confirmed to NBC Sports.

SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang first reported the news.

Pattie has been with Roush Fenway since 2016 when he was crew chief for Greg Biffle. He’s been paired with Stenhouse the last three seasons.

News of Pattie’s departure after this season comes after the news that Chris Buescher will drive the No. 17 next year and with Stenhouse moving to JTG Daugherty Racing.

Pattie has six wins in 416 Cup races as a crew chief since 1999. Two came with Stenhouse in 2015 at Talladega and Daytona.

Stenhouse and Pattie failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons.

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