The final day of the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom was Chevy Thursday and began with Furniture Row Racing.
This Richard Childress-connected team is celebrating 10 years of racing and are as known for their moving up as a tough, consistent team as those guys who have their shop in Colorado. That adds a good 1400 miles to them racing at CMS but they don’t show it. A new crew chief in Cole Pearn and the continuation of six years of Childress equipment makes for less worries. On top of that, driver, Martin Truex Jr. Is buds with Childress driver, Ryan Newman, who only lost the title by, as Richard Childress says, “one caution flag.”
Next was Richard Childress Racing and they are some of the busiest guys in racing. They’ll have three Cup teams, four Xfinity teams and a number of development drivers hitting plenty of circuits. RCR brought back a familiar name in racing, Grainger, and they will partner with the #31 of Ryan Newman. Along with the above mentioned Furniture Row team, RCR are Technical partners with two other Cup teams. The driver and crew chief lineups are still in place from last year.
Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing is rolling proud after their win at the Rolex 24 hour race where they used most of the Ganassi’s drivers from all his seven teams of all types of racing. It’s the 25 year milestone for Chip and Target and they are gearing up to try to draw young fans into the sport. Watch for the TV ads. Jamie McMurray, by his wins in big races has acquired the nick name of ‘the big game hunter.’ He joins some pretty heady company as a winner of both the Dayona 500 and 24 hour as only he, A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti can claim the honor.
The traditional end to the media tour is a visit with Hendrick Motosports where a week earlier, four time Champ, Jeff Gordon, announced 2015 to be his last full season. Today, it was announced Chase Elliott, son of Awesome Bill, would fill that 24 seat in 2016. In the meantime, he will run a few Rookie races in a NAPA #25 this year. The feeling is that the 2014 Xfinity Champ can add to HMS’s 231 wins and 11 Sprint Cup titles. Gordon heads into this final season with 92 wins, including five at the Brickyard. Dale Jr. brought family friend Nationwide Insurance in as a primary sponsor while Jimmy Johnson celebrates 14 years with Lowes.
It’ll be an interesting race at not Daytona but Atlanta as the new rules for engines and bodies start there. With 125 HP removed and less spoiler and front pan area, it’s creating all new set ups and even changes in driving style. Watch for higher cornering speeds, closer racing and LOTS of experimenting by pretty much every team as they try to sort their ‘new’ cars out.