NASCAR Team Previews: BK Racing, Germain, TBR and More
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on February 4, 2014 | 9:54 A.M. EST
Several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams were ready to test at Daytona last month and are getting ready to race this season. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
A new season brings new hope but for many lower-funded teams scheduled to compete in every NASCAR Sprint Cup race this season, the goal is to make progress.
Rookies are prevalent among these teams and that could make it more challenging to see positive results early. Some teams have tried to balance that inexperience by adding crew chiefs who have won Cup races. For many of these teams, a finish in the top 20 will be considered a good day and anything better will be looked up on as an exceptional day.
Team: BK Racing
Drivers: Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex
Crew Chiefs: Dave Winston (Bowman) and Dale Ferguson (Truex)
2 - NASCAR K&N Pro Series East titles won by Ryan Truex (2009 & ’10).
3 - Combined Sprint Cup starts by Alex Bowman (0) and Ryan Truex (3) entering this season.
23 - Number for Alex Bowman’s car, a switch from the No. 83 that the team used last year.
What’s New: Driver lineup leads the changes at BK Racing. Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex replace David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil.
Keys to the Season: To learn each week. Team faces challenges as a low-budget organization with rookie drivers. Thus, the key is to make steady progress throughout the season.
Observations: Neither of BK Racing’s cars finished in the top 30 in car owner points last season. Cracking the top 30 should be a goal. Bowman showed speed last year in the Nationwide Series. Truex, who is on loan from Richard Petty Motorsports, spent most of last year watching from the sideline because of lack of funding. There is plenty of work ahead for both drivers and teams.
Team: Germain Racing
Driver: Casey Mears
Crew Chief: Robert “Bootie” Barker
1 - Top-10 finish (ninth at Daytona in July), first top-10 result for Mears since 2009.
3 - Green-flag laps Mears led last season.
15 - Lead-lap finishes last season compared to six such finishes in 2012.
What’s New: Team switches from Ford to Chevrolet and has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
Keys to the Season: The technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing should help this team move forward. This will be the third full season Mears and Barker have been together and that should play a role in better results.
Observations: Furniture Row Racing’s appearance in the Chase last year gives Germain Racing something to aspire to as a single-car operation. Furniture Row Racing, though, likely will be the exception. Mears finished 24th in the points last year, gaining five spots from the previous season. A similar jump should be a team goal but that will not be easy to achieve.
Team: Tommy Baldwin Racing
Drivers: Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson
Crew Chiefs: Kevin Manion (Annett) and Todd Parrott (Sorenson)
1 - Top-10 finishes for the organization last season (J.J. Yeley was 10th in the Daytona 500).
5 - Career wins for Tommy Baldwin as a crew chief, including the 2002 Daytona 500.
36 - Combined career wins for crew chiefs Todd Parrott (31) and Kevin Manion (5).
What’s New: Team joins technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing and brings in two new crew chiefs, along with changing its driver lineup.
Keys to the Season: Making the most of what they have. Tommy Baldwin is battling to climb from the ranks of a small team. That spirit will again be needed this season.
Observations: The additions of Kevin Manion and Todd Parrott could prove significant for this team. Key, as it is for most teams, is finances. If enough sponsorship can be found, Tommy Baldwin can start pointing toward top-20 finishes on a regular basis as a goal. If not, then the goal is to finish in the top 25.
Team: Swan Racing
Drivers: Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt
Crew Chiefs: Steven Lane (Kligerman) and Randy Cox (Whitt)
18 - Finish at Texas in November for Parker Kligerman, his best result in two races with the team.
27 - Finish at Dover for Cole Whitt, his best finish in seven races with the team late last year.
33 - Place team finished in the car owner standings in 2013.
What’s New: New driver lineup and expansion to two-car operation for owner Brandon Davis’ team.
Keys to the Season: Gain experience and grow. Just like BK Racing, this team features two rookie drivers. It won’t be easy heading in this direction but it could prove to be beneficial later.
Observations: Expect this team and its drivers to go through some rough times - as often is the case with rookies with smaller teams. The payoff will be on those good days. The question is how good will those good days will be. Likely a top-20 finish.
Team: Fas Lane Racing
Driver: Terry Labonte (for Daytona 500), rest of driver lineup TBA
Crew Chief: Dan Stillman
4 - Different drivers in the No. 32 car last year - Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader, Timmy Hill and Boris Said.
5 - Races Terry Labonte drove for the team last year with a top finish of 19th at Daytona in July.
19.7 - Average finish for Terry Labonte in the Daytona 500 the past three years for the team.
What’s New: Fas Lane Racing has partnered with Go Green Racing to field the No. 32 car this season.
Keys to the Season: Needs strong finishes in some of the big money races, including the Daytona 500, to help supplement the team’s finances.
Observations: Just like many small teams, this organization is looking for a way to succeed and climb the ladder. Reality is it won’t be easy.
Team: Phil Parsons Racing
Driver: Josh Wise
Crew Chief: Gene Nead
9 - Finish in the Daytona 500 for the team’s top result last season.
19 - Top finish for Josh Wise last year, coming at Talladega.
25 - Times team finished 40th or worse last year.
What’s New: Josh Wise joins the team, replacing Michael McDowell, who joined Leavine Family Racing this season.
Keys to the Season: Making sure they get in all the races to collect their race earnings.
Observations: This team looks to survive and Wise gives them that chance. He knows about the pressures of qualifying for races when there are more than 43 cars at a track. That will help.
Team: HScott Motorsports
Drivers: Justin Allgaier and Bobby Labonte
Crew Chiefs: Steve Addington (Allgaier) and Jimmy Elledge (Labonte)
12 - Different drivers who competed in the No. 51 car last season including AJ Allmendinger, Austin Dillon, Jacques Villeneuve and Kyle Larson.
20 - Career wins for Steve Addington as a crew chief.
30 - Place in the car owner points the team finished last year.
What’s New: The team has a new name after being previously known as Phoenix Racing. Justin Allgaier joins the team and Bobby Labonte is scheduled to run a second car in the Daytona 500 and other races.
Keys to the Season: Stability. Justin Allgaier will be in the No. 51 car the whole season and that should help the team’s performance instead of changing drivers as often as it did last year.
Observations: Harry Scott Jr. bought the team last year from James Finch. Scott has played a role in building Turner Scott Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. He looks to do the same with this Cup program but it will take time.
Team: Hillman Racing
Driver: Landon Cassill
Crew Chief: Mike Abner
22 - Finish for Landon Cassill at Talladega in May, his best result of the season.
32 - Average finish for Landon Cassill in both the No. 33 and No. 40 cars for the team last season.
38 - Finish in the car owner points for the No. 33 car last season.
What’s New: A new season provides a new outlook but the challenges will remain the same for this small team.
Keys to the Season: Cassill finished 30th or worse in 24 of the 33 races he ran last year for the team. The key is to get better and score more top-25 results.
Observations: Even with its connections to Richard Childress Racing, this small team faces big challenges. More consistent finishes in the top 30 would be considered a step forward.