Changes in the offseason have brought a new look to JTG Daugherty Racing for 2019 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Ryan Preece joins the team and will run for Rookie of the Year in the team’s No. 47 ride replacing AJ Allmendinger for the coming season. Chris Buescher returns in the No. 37 entry as the two-car tandem sets its sights on an improved performance from last year’s campaign.
"What I love about this team… I talk about when I went to visit that shop and how impressed I was," Preece said. "Now that I’m at that shop I see the passion. It’s not just a 9-5 job for a lot of these guys. There is passion behind it and they want to run good just like I do. It’s pretty motivating. Now we just have to get on the race track."
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Buescher is back for a third season at JTG and believes bringing Preece in will provide some energy to the organization. Buescher finished 24th in the series standings a year ago with a pair of both top-five and top-10 finishes but think the performance will improve in 2019.
"Excited to have Ryan on board and I think that is going to be a good fit between us," Buescher said. "I don’t know if I’m a veteran to the point where I can sit there and try and give someone a whole lot of advice because I’m learning at the same time, but I feel like it will be good for us to be able to go through our debrief meetings or at the race track after practice, be able to get together and compare notes and be able to figure out how to get better.
"I think that is something that communication should be good and we have been able to start talking about the season beforehand and I feel like it’s going to be really good."
Incremental progress is the goal for JTG Daugherty Racing this year. Everyone in the organization understands how difficult the level of competition is in the Cup Series but the goal is to make gains on a weekly basis.
"They have got all the pieces of the puzzle, I feel, at this point," Preece said. "Just putting them together and getting … you’ve got to have goals, you’ve got to start off top 15’s, top 10’s, top fives and when you are consistently there that is when the wins will come.
"So as long as there is progression, forward progress, and I’m sure (Competition Director) Ernie (Cope) and Chris feel the same way, as long as we keep on seeing that forward progress of not getting stuck in that one group where you are running pretty much every week. It’s like ‘okay, well this didn’t work last week we need to figure something out, try something different, we will figure it out.’ If there is progression, I’m happy and we will keep on progressing and never fall behind."
Both cars are fully funded for the season thanks to an innovative sponsorship program with Kroger and several of the grocery store chain’s partners. Having already secured the necessary resources for the season is a huge benefit to the team reaching its goals this year.
"We know that innovation drives growth in all industries and I think it’s no different here," team co-owner Tad Geschikter said about the sponsorship plan with Kroger.
"If you think about it, Kroger is innovating. Now fans across the country can shop thanks to Kroger’s new diversified delivery systems. This whole idea of putting themes on the hood of the car, that is new and different, but what is allows us to do is let brands partner together to speak with scale during times of the year when we know fans are most likely to be shopping for their products."
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