NXS: Tracking the Changes – NASCAR XFINITY Series Edition Part 1

Photo Credit: Mike Mercurio

Throughout the off-season, there are always changes to watch out for with drivers and crew chiefs switching drivers and organizations. It seems this past season was no different, as there was news for fans to watch out for on a weekly basis. Here is the first part of our look at how things shake out for the upcoming season, with the changes marked in red.  Be sure to stay tuned for the second half of the article later on this week.

Car #: 0
Driver: Eric McClure
Crew Chief: Todd Myers
Team: JD Motorsports with Gary Keller
Eric McClure joins the organization after racing for Tri-Star Motorsports last season.
Harrison Rhodes drove the car last season, and will be racing with Obaika Racing in 2016.

Car #: 01
Driver: Ryan Preece
Crew Chief: Zack McGowan
Team: JD Motorsports with Gary Keller
After finishing in the top-two in points the past four years in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series, Preece will make the move up to the XFINITY Series, set to run the full schedule with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller. Landon Cassill drove the car last year, and is slated to run the full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2016.
McGowan also makes the move to the XFINITY Series with Preece, and brings forth good karma having worked with Preece in the past. Dave Fuge, whom crew chiefed for Cassill last year, has yet to announce any plans for the upcoming season.

Car #: 07
Driver: Ray Black Jr.
Crew Chief: Jason Miller
Team: SS Green Light Racing
After success in the Camping World Truck Series, Black Jr. and SS Green Light Racing are making the move up to the XFINITY Series for a full-time schedule. Miller crew chiefed for Black last season in the truck series.

Car #: 1
Driver: Elliott Sadler
Crew Chief: Kevin Meendering
Team: JR Motorsports
Formally known as the No. 9 team last year, Elliott Sadler makes the move over to JR Motorsports, bringing his car number and sponsor, OneMain Financial. Chase Elliott, who drove the car last year, is set to run the full Sprint Cup Series schedule for Hendrick Motorsports.
Kevin Meendering joins the team as the crew chief as holding down the role of lead engineer for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Sprint Cup Series team. Ernie Cope, whom served the role as crew chief last season, has joined JTG/Daugherty Motorsports as Competition Director. 

Car #: 2
Driver: Paul Menard/Austin Dillon 
Crew Chief: Danny Stockman
Team: Richard Childress Racing
With Brian Scott moving up to the Sprint Cup Series to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports, the No. 2 becomes the all-star entry for Richard Childress Racing’s XFINITY team. Thus far, the team has announced that Paul Menard and Austin Dillon are set to run select events in 2015.
Danny Stockman will serve as crew chief, moving over from the No. 33 car to the No. 2 car at Richard Childress Racing. The No. 33 was the all-star entry last season, but will be ran full-time in 2016 by Brandon Jones.

Photo Credit: Mike Mercurio
Photo Credit: Mike Mercurio

Car #: 3
Driver: Ty Dillon
Crew Chief: Nick Harrison
Team: Richard Childress Racing

Car #: 4
Driver: Ross Chastain
Crew Chief: Gary Cogswell
Team: JD Motorsports with Gary Keller

Car #: 6
Driver: Darrell Wallace Jr.
Crew Chief: Seth Barbour
Team: Roush Fenway Racing

Car #: 7
Driver: Justin Allgaier
Crew Chief: Jason Burdett
Team: JR Motorsports
Justin Allgaier makes the move over to JR Motorsports after running the full Sprint Cup Series schedule for HScott Motorsports last season. Allgaier will replace Regan Smith, who has landed a full-time Sprint Cup Series ride with Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Car #: 11
Driver: Blake Koch 
Crew Chief: Chris Rice
Team: Kaulig Racing
After sponsoring Blake Koch over the past couple seasons with his company, Mark Kaulig is stepping up his partnership in 2016, forming a brand new race team. Koch will be behind the wheel, with veteran crew chief Chris Rice calling the shots. The pair have worked together before, producing Koch’s best career finish with a 11th at Homestead-Miami Speedway a couple years ago. The team has formed a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

Car #: 13
Driver: Derek White, Mark Thompson
Crew Chief: Kevyn Rebelledo
Team: Motorsports Business Management

Car #: 14
Driver: ?
Crew Chief: Eddie Pardue
Team: TriStar Motorsports
TriStar Motorsports announced during the off-season that they would be scaling back their program, from four cars to two cars in 2016. They have confirmed that David Starr will be back behind the wheel of the No. 44, but have yet to confirm who will be driving the No. 14 entry, as of yet.

Car #: 16
Driver: Ryan Reed
Crew Chief: Phil Gould
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
After working with Elliott Sadler last season, Phil Gould will now move over to the No. 16 team in 2016 to work with Reed.

Car #: 18
Driver: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Tifft
Crew Chief: Chris Gayle
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Notably, the No. 54 will be the No. 18 for the new season, as Daniel Switches from the No. 18 to the No. 19 for 2016. The team has confirmed that Busch, Hamlin and Tifft will be part of the line-up for the season, but has yet to announce the full schedule for each driver, except that Tifft will run 13 races.

Car #: 19
Driver: Daniel Suarez
Crew Chief: Scott Graves
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
After leading Chris Buescher to the series championship last year with Roush Fenway Racing, Scott Graves will join Joe Gibbs Racing for 2016 to work with last year’s rookie of the year Daniel Suarez.

Car #: 20
Driver: Erik Jones
Crew Chief: Chris Gabehart
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Notably, Jones will transition from running a partial schedule to running full-time in 2016. Gabehart becomes the crew chief, after most recently serving as a race engineer for Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Sprint Cup Series team.

Car #: 22
Driver: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney
Crew Chief: Brian Wilson
Team: Penske Racing
Brian Wilson becomes the crew chief after spending the last couple of seasons as a race engineer for Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Sprint Cup Series team. Greg Erwin, who was previously the crew chief, will remain with the organization, returning to the position of XFINITY Team Manager.

Car #: 24
Driver: ?
Crew Chief: ?
Team: JGL Racing

Car #: 25
Driver: ?
Crew Chief: ?
Team: Rick Ware Racing
Rick Ware Racing announced that they would use the number in the XFINITY Series, but did not announce any further details. This number was campaigned by John Wes Townley and Athenian Motorsports last season. Townley confirmed that he will run a limited schedule in 2016 to go with a full Camping World Truck Series effort. 

Car #: 27
Driver: Jacques Villenueve
Crew Chief: ?
Team: Wing Nut Racing
A brand new team in the series, announced just this past week. Jacques Villenueve makes his return to the series after a brief hiatus, set to run the full schedule. 

Car #: 28
Driver: Dakoda Armstrong
Crew Chief: Steven Lane
Team: JGL Racing
After running the full schedule last year for Richard Petty Motorsports, Dakoda Armstrong will move over to JGL Racing for the 2016 season.


Stay tuned for part two of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Driver/Team Line-up, which will be posted later this week.