I’m reflecting over this week changes of drivers in the teams.
#54 car Xfinity Series
As we all know, Kyle Busch was injured in the Xfinity race at Daytona driving the #54 Monster Energy Toyota. Erik Jones, already part-time driver in the Xfinity series in the #20 car (together with Matt Kenseth) will be the driver of #54 car at Atlanta. There is no news who will drive #54 after Atlanta.
Comments. Erik Jones, drives full-time in Camping World Truck series in the Toyota #4 car for Kyle Busch team. I think E.J was a “quick-fix” interim driver for Kyle in #54 car. I think team owner of #54 Joe Gibbs Racing, is looking for another driver for a longer term of races. Joey Coulter, with four full seasons in the truck series was mention in pre-season as part-driver in #54 car. That will not happen. Why not put new teammate and JGR racer Carl Edwards at the wheel?
#18 car Sprint Cup Series
Another Kyle Busch ride, #18 car of JGR’s M&M Toyota. Truck champion Matt Crafton drove the #18 at Daytona 500, and finished 18. Nobody can complain about MC performance at Daytona. Now, #18 car will have Front Row Motorsports driver of #34 Ford, David Ragan, as interim driver for Kyle Busch.
Comments. Interesting and surprising. Didn’t think JGR would take a full time driver of another Sprint cup team to fill the #18 seat. Would be interesting to know JGR mind there. Anyway, this must be DR best chance to get inside the media light and show himself. DR is a good performing driver at a team with less resources then the top teams. I believed that Matt Crafton was ready for more Sprint cup racing, perhaps he will get another chance later.
#34 car Sprint Cup
Obviously, Front Row Motorsports #34 car is missing a interim driver when DR went to drive #18 car. At Atlanta #34 car will be driven by “front row Joe” – Joe Nemecheck. Also this, at least for me, was surprising. 51 year old JN driver/owner of #8 car in truck series have at Atlanta also a chance to show little of his “old magic”.
Comments. The question is if JN still have the magic left? As a part-time driver in Sprint cup last season JR had 15 starts with av. start of 36.5 and av. finish of 40.6. I think JR only will drive the #34 car at Atlanta. After that, I don’t know. I always liked JR, but here I think FRM should let a “young gun” from CWTS/Xfinity Series drive the #34 car. Why not test Xfinity champion Chase Elliot in Sprint Cup car?
#41 car Sprint Cup
Already decided as interim driver for the season (or when Kurt Busch returns) Regan Smith will drive the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet.
Comments. This is a very good choice. Regan Smith belongs to Sprint Cup if you ask me. Let’s hope he will get a positive season at Tony Stewart’s team.
A few comments and opinions First about Erik Jones he is a very talented kid that IMO, JGR like to see in the cup when he's ready, a good decision bye JGR to let him get a few more Xfinity starts under his belt before trying him in Cup. David Ragan to sub in the 18 also makes sense now with 2 former Teammates at JGR. The FRM 34 didn't have full sponsorship this year, from what I've heard they where lacking sponsorship for 8-10 race. Hope fully Front Row Joe can get it qualified.