NASCAR Cup: TriStar returns with Cole Whitt
Cole Whitt (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
TriStar Motorsports plans a return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2017, according to a press release distributed by the race team on Thursday. The organization will field a No. 72 entry in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt as driver and Frank Kerr as crew chief.
TriStar will operate as a one-car team. For now, the team appears not to have a charter; therefore, Whitt will have to qualify his way into races, unless a charter is obtained. A charter guarantees starting spots for each Cup Series race.
“I’m looking forward to being back in the seat at TriStar Motorsports for the Monster Energy Cup Series for 2017,” Whitt said. “We are glad to have Florida Lottery back with us for the season-opener at Daytona and are fortunate to continue and expand our relationship with Rinnai, RTIC Coolers and Carolina Skiff throughout the year.”
Whitt has 112-career Cup Series starts, with most of those coming between 2014 and 2016. His best series finish, to date, was an 11th-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last season in a car owned by Jay Robinson.
TriStar Motorsports, a team that competes regularly in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, fielded cars at the Cup level for 197 races between 1989 and 2013. The last Cup race for the race team came at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2013.
“We are taking a different approach and expanding our competitive platform for 2017,” TriStar Motorsports owner Mark Smith said. “It is an opportunity we feel is the best direction for this season, and we are pleased to have Cole and his partners involved in those efforts.”
TriStar Motorsports also plans to field one full-time Xfinity Series entry for J.J. Yeley. The team has competed in the Xfinity Series since 2010.
Whitt drove an Xfinity Series entry for TriStar in 2013 and 2016, running 15 races for the team in 2013 and two last season. His best finishes in those 15 races were eighth-place showings on the road courses of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Watkins Glen, both in 2013.