NASCAR

Chris Buescher to join JTG Daugherty Racing, Roush Fenway Racing announces 2017 changes

JTG Daugherty Racing will field a second car in 2017 for Chris Buescher, the team announced Tuesday. Roush Fenway Racing also announced personnel changes for the 2017 season, including plans to scale back to two cars.

“We can confirm at this time that JTG Daugherty Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series,” team owner Tad Geschickter stated. “We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car.” Buescher confirmed the news in a later statement.

Buescher will join JTG on loan from RFR despite the two teams fielding different manufacturers; while Roush runs Fords, JTG races with Chevrolet. The car number, crew chief and sponsor have not been revealed. The team will receive the charter of RFR’s #16 team, which guarantees the new car a spot in the field for all 36 races in 2017.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion spent his Cup Series rookie season in the #34 with Front Row Motorsports, winning a race at Pocono and qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He finished 16th in the 2016 standings. A replacement in the #34 has not been announced.

JTG will field the car in addition to A. J. Allmendinger and the #47 team. This marks the first time that the team has fielded two cars. Allmendinger finished 19th in the standings in 2016.

After parting ways with longtime driver Greg Biffle last Monday, Roush’s sale of the #16 charter will indicate their intention to field only two cars in 2017, the #6 for Trevor Bayne and the #17 for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. With the removal of the #16 car, 2017 will be the first time the number did not appear in a Cup race since 2001 and the first time it is not a full-time car since 2003.

Biffle’s crew chief Brian Pattie will take over the same duties on the #17 team, replacing Nick Sandler, who will become RFR’s new Director of Engineering. Matt Puccia will remain in his role as the #6 team’s crew chief.

RFR also announced promotions for Kevin Kidd and Tommy Wheeler to Competition Director and Operations Director, respectively. Kidd, who had served as a crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing, joined RFR two years ago as Cup Team Manager. Wheeler joined the team in 2009, serving as production director. General manager Robbie Reiser, who was relieved of his role last Monday, will remain with the team at an unspecified position.

Featured image courtesy of Sean Gardner, Getty Images

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