NASCAR Cup: JTG-Daugherty Racing may expand
No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet of A.J. Allmendinger (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
JTG-Daugherty Racing, the team that fields the No. 47 Chevrolet for A.J. Allmendinger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, may expand to a two-car operation for 2017, according to co-owner Tad Geschickter. Geschickter told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday that fielding two Sprint Cup cars next year is “certainly a possibility.”
According to Geschickter, several cost-related issues would play into the decision whether or not to expand, with those issues including sponsorship, drivers available and the cost of signing one of them and the price of charters that become available during the offseason.
“Certainly, we’re weighing out all the options right now,” Geschickter said. “It’s not secret that we have to figure out are there charters available and their cost, are there drivers available, what do they cost, and certainly, we ultimately have to report back to the sponsors and pull the trigger. Luckily, with a company the size of Richard Childress Racing helping us, there’s the opportunity to get the cars ready.”
JTG-Daugherty has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, a three-car Sprint Cup operation that fields cars for Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.
Apparently, the availability, or lack thereof, of a charter isn’t make or break in the decision whether or not to add a second Sprint Cup entry, at least not at the start of next season. Geschickter said that there is “definitely a possibility” the team may compete in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with two cars, one of those without a charter.
Ideally, though, the team would prefer to have a charter for a possible second team, as charters guarantee cars starting spots in every Sprint Cup race. A handful of charters are expected to hit the market at season’s end, but there also are other teams expected to attempt acquisition of one, namely Furniture Row Racing, as it expands to a second car for Erik Jones next season.
Some published speculation has named Greg Biffle as a possible second driver for JTG-Daugherty Racing, since Biffle has hinted a move from Roush Fenway Racing by suggesting doing something different.
Another name worth noting is Ty Dillon. Dillon has implied multiple times that he expects to be in a full-time Sprint Cup ride next year. He is the grandson of RCR owner Richard Childress, so it’s feasible that with the technical alliance between RCR at JTGDR, Dillon could wind up at JTG-Daugherty through a deal with Childress.
Geschickter was clear, though, that a potential driver would need Allmendinger’s seal of approval, so-to-speak.
“A.J.’s the guy that got us here,” Geschickter said. “I think it’s important that A.J. have someone he feels like he has a similar feel to, a communication style with, that he’d enjoy being a teammate with. To me, that’s first and foremost. We’re fortunate to have a lot of companies put their logos on our car. I think that’s the next consideration, the spokesman you feel comfortable with and would like. Ultimately, my decision doesn’t matter. I think I would focus on those two areas, first, as we’re talking to a driver.”