Roush Fenway Racing will downsize from three to two full-time teams, JTG Daugherty Racing will add a second car to their fleet and second-year driver Chris Buescher will switch teams, all for the upcoming 2017 season. Silly Season never dies, right?
Buescher, who is 24 years old, drove for Front Row Motorsports this past season and earned one victory in the No. 34 Ford at Pocono (rain-shortened).
“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,” Buescher said in a released statement. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase.”
The 2014 XFINITY Series Champion qualified for this season’s Chase via his win at Pocono but failed to advance out of the Round of 16.
Although this term is used more in soccer, Buescher is being “loaned” or “leased” to JTG from RFR. Well, actually, the charter of the No. 16 car that belongs to Roush Fenway is. If you’re unfamiliar, a NASCAR charter is basically the sanctioning body’s form of a franchise in the other major North American sports.
JTG Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter as well as ESPN basketball analyst Brad Daugherty, has not announced a sponsor, car number or crew chief for Buescher in 2017 yet. AJ Allmendinger will be Buescher’s teammate at JTG, and has their lone win (Watkins Glen, 2013) since the team started in 2009.
This news means FRR only has one full-time driver under contract for 2017 in Landon Cassill. The opening of the No. 34 car could possibly set up another free agent to slot in there. But Buescher is still a RFR-contracted driver, and will remain that despite driving a Chevrolet for JTG this season, the first time not driving a Ford for him in his brief NASCAR career.
2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and 2013 XFINITY champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will make up RFR’s 2017 Cup lineup.
For a team that had five cars qualify for the chase in 2005 to lose two drivers and a general manager in Robby Reiser all within the last two weeks has been a reality check for Jack Roush. Despite that, he’s staying positive.
“We have been able to shore up our plans for 2017 and we feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results,” Roush, co-owner of RFR, said in a released statement. “We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season. We will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front.”
His drivers of Stenhouse Jr., Bayne and recently released Greg Biffle finished 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively in the 2016 point standings. RFR is also winless since the 2013 season.
Stenhouse Jr. will have a new crew chief in 2017 in Brian Pattie. Pattie, who is the former crew chief for Biffle, will be replacing Nick Sandler, who has been placed as the head of the Roush Fenway engineering department.