Tad Geschickter

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Ryan Preece signs with JTG Daugherty to drive in Cup in 2019

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CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Preece, who gained notice by pooling his sponsorship money to run a limited number of races with a top Xfinity team last year instead of running a full-time schedule with a lower team, had that gamble pay off Friday with a full-time Cup ride for 2019.

Preece will join JTG Daugherty and drive the No. 47 next season, the team announced Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 27-year-old Preece, who has signed a multi-year agreement, replaces AJ Allmendinger. Preece, who has five career Cup starts, will be a teammate to Chris Buescher. The team will have Hendrick Motorsports supply its engines next year. This is the team’s last season with ECR Engines.

Preece drove a full Xfinity season for JD Motorsports in 2016 for JD Motorsports, a lower-funded team, and had one top-10 finish. Preece used his sponsorship money to run a couple of races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017. He finished second at New Hampshire and won at Iowa, earning a ride in two additional races. This season, he’s scored one win and six top-10 finishes in nine starts for JGR. He’s set to run the rest of the Xfinity schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing before joining JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2019 season.

“We’re really looking forward to having Ryan join our team for the 2019 season,” team owner Tad Geschickter said. “Ryan has an impressive list of accomplishments in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series and is now being given a great opportunity to compete at NASCAR’s highest level full-time. We really believe in him and think he’s a great addition to the team.”

Preece, a native of Berlin, Connecticut, has competed in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour since 2007. He has 22 wins and 76 top-five finishes in 155 series starts. He won the 2013 title. Preece also was a part of the NASCAR Next Class in 2013 and 2014.

“Tommy Lasorda says, ‘The difference between impossible and possible lies in a man’s determination,’ and I feel that JTG Daugherty Racing has just that,” Preece said. “It’s been many years of fighting for opportunities to compete and win races at NASCAR’s highest level, and it is nice to officially say that JTG Daugherty Racing is my new home for 2019. I look forward to not only racing, but working with the team as well to build speed and create a name for myself here. I can’t thank Tad and Jodi Geschickter, Brad Daugherty and Gordon Smith enough for the opportunity.”

AJ Allmendinger out at JTG Daugherty Racing after 2018

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AJ Allmendinger will be released from JTG Daugherty Racing after the 2018 season, the team announced Tuesday.

Allmendinger, 35, has driven the No. 47 Chevrolet for the team since 2013 when he made nine starts beginning with the June race at Michigan International Speedway. He has run full time with the team since 2014.

In 181 starts with the team, Allmendinger has one win (Watkins Glen, 2014) and 11 top fives.

He is 24th in the standings ahead of Sunday’s race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. His best result with JTG Daugherty Racing is 13th in the standings in 2014. He has not finished better than 19th in the points since that season.

“AJ Allmendinger has been a valuable asset to the growth of our company, and we are grateful for his professionalism with our brands and the passion he has shown for this race team over the years,” team co-owner Tad Geschickter said in a release. “As hard as it may be, we’re moving in a different direction for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and will be parting ways at the end of this season. It’s not an easy decision and change is never easy. We wish him the very best in his endeavors and he will always be family to us.”

Chris Buescher drivers the team’s second car in the No. 37 Chevrolet.

Allmendinger has not yet announced his plans for 2019, but Weathertech Sports Car owner Michael Shank tweeted that the driver will make at least some starts for him.

Allmendinger scored the overall victory in the 2012 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona driving for Shank.

Leavine Family Racing leaving RCR technical alliance after this season

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Car owner Bob Leavine confirmed Sunday that Leavine Family Racing will leave its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing after this season.

The move was first reported by frontstretch.com.

Leavine said Sunday at Watkins Glen International that his team notified RCR in early July that it was not returning to the technical alliance after this season.

Leavine’s actions could signal a manufacturer change for the single-car car team. That also would mean a new engine manufacturer since Leavine gets its engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines.

Leavine said he’s also had conversations with Toyota and Ford, while also negotiating to retain Kasey Kahne after this season.

“In our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far,” Leavine said. 

“Everything we have investigated and done with Toyota has felt good from one end of the spectrum, the technical, to just the relationship basis.”

Would Leavine Family Racing’s move to Toyota provide a place for Xfinity driver Christopher Bell to race in Cup next year? Bell has said he feels he is ready to move to Cup and has won four times this season in that series but there appears no room at Joe Gibbs Racing or Furniture Row Racing in Cup for him.

“Christopher is a great driver,” Leavine said. “We have had no discussions with Christopher. He’s a Toyota driver, so they’ve got their program and know what they want to do. They haven’t relayed to us any interest of him in our car. I’m sure they’ve got a plan for him. The kid has great talent.”

Leavine said the team is in talks with Kahne, whose contract ends after this year, to return to the No. 95 team.

“He’s expressed a desire to come back, he’s doing a great job for us,” Leavine said of Kahne, who enters Sunday’s race 27th in the driver standings. “Same reason we hired him last year.”

Also, car owner Tad Geschickter said that JTG Daugherty will move from Earnhardt Childress Racing engines to Hendrick engines after this season. JTG Daugherty left the RCR technical alliance for Hendrick after last season.

Car owner Richard Childress said Sunday that replacements would be found for the departure of Leavine Family Racing from the technical alliance and JTG Daugherty from the engine program next year.

“We’re good,” Childress said. “We’ve got replacements for all of them but one, so we’re fine.”

Team owner Brad Daugherty joins SiriusXM NASCAR Radio lineup

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Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty, will co-host “The Late Shift” on Monday nights, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced Friday. Daugherty will begin Feb. 19, the day after the Daytona 500.

Daugherty will join co-host Brad Gillie.

Larry McReynolds will co-host the show on Tuesday nights. Former co-host Kenny Wallace will remain as a part-time host.

During an appearance Friday morning on “The Morning Drive,” Daugherty discussed his new opportunity and more, including a spending cap and escalating costs in the sport.

On costs and a spending cap in the sport, Daugherty said:

“The biggest challenge for me would be if that happened, the first thing that would have to happen would be a collective bargaining process, which could happen, but then there would have to be a tremendous revenue sharing in all the resources that are available to NASCAR and to the sport because then you’re cutting out equal chunks of the pie like baseball, like basketball and like football,” he said. “Now these race teams, which we have our charters, they could become true commodities. I don’t think you can do it in racing simply because the are so many moving pieces and parts. The other sports are pretty much straight forward and simple.

“When you have so many vendors that participate on a weekly basis in this sport like they do now, it makes it almost impossible to control those costs unless you have just one supplier for everything throughout the sport and then that doesn’t make sense because then you don’t know if you’re getting the best equipment available throughout the sport.

“When you are talking about mechanical things, pieces and parts and vendors, it’s almost impossible to put that all under thumb and to create some kind of cap. It would be unfair. I think if you have your revenue stream and you’re able to take your revenue stream to produce opportunities for your company, based upon the rulebook and based upon the rules that are legislated through the sport, I think that’s as fair as it gets. Now, one guy can outspend another. I just think that is the way it is. It has always been that way. I really don’t have a problem with that.

“The spending, though, we need to find better ways to control costs … just the weekly stuff. Goodyear does a great job with trying to control costs for us. Our brake packages and stuff like that are creeping up on price. Probably 12 years ago, a brake package at Daytona probably costs us about $4,500. Last year, we ran the same speed 12-13 years ago, that brake package was $45,000. Those types of costs within the sport need to be monitored a little bit better, I do believe that will help us.

“Even with that, the guy who can put his dollars in the right position and run his race team, these businesses are not like any other businesses on the face of the planet. They’re not like other sports business, the compression chart when you look at how these things are put together with executives and individuals and aeronautical engineers and crew people. It’s not the same. It’s just a unique sport that I don’t think you can actually get a tremendous grasp on fiscally just because of all the moving pieces and parts available. I like having all the pieces and parts available to my race team. It’s up to me or (co-owner) Tad (Geschickter) or Jodi (Geschickter) to go out and find the money to implement them.”

JTG Daugherty expands, signs Chris Buescher to drive in 2017

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Chris Buescher will drive a second car for JTG Daugherty in 2017, the team stated Tuesday.

“We can confirm at this time that JTG Daugherty Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series,” JTG Daugherty Racing team owner Tad Geschickter said in a statement. “We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car. More details will follow.”

Said Buescher, 24, in a statement: “I can confirm that I have signed to race for JTG Daugherty Racing as they expand to a two-car team in the NASCAR premier series in 2017. I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase. We’ll have more details at a later date.”

Roush Fenway Racing will lease the charter from its No. 16 team to JTG Daugherty for the second team. Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday it would field two full-time Cup entries in 2017.

JTG Daugherty becomes Buescher’s third team in the last three years.

He won the 2015 Xfinity title for Roush Fenway Racing and was loaned to Front Row Motorsports last season. Buescher scored a win in his rookie Cup campaign. He joins JTG Daugherty on loan.

Buescher finished 16th in the points this season after making the Chase via his win at Pocono in August. He finished with two top-five and two top-10 finishes.

Buescher’s addition is part of JTG’s expansion. The team, which debuted in 2008, previously fielded only a single-car effort. Allmendinger has been with the team since late in the 2013 season. He finished 19th in the points this past season. Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty made the Chase in 2014 after winning at Watkins Glen.