Scott, formerly a competitor for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, will pilot Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 9 in the Sprint Cup Series in 2016, the team officially announced Friday, Dec. 11.
Sponsorship details have not been announced, though the press conference was accompanied by a Twisted Tea No. 9 car. Last year, Scott was sponsored primarily by grocery chain Albertsons plus Idaho’s Shore Lodge, which the driver’s family owns.
Scott replaces Sam Hornish, Jr., who drove for the team in 2015 after taking over for Marcos Ambrose. Hornish’s 2016 plans have not been announced.
A crew chief for Scott has not been announced; the team revealed Friday that Kevin “Bono” Manion, who took over the No. 9 last spring, will not return.
The inclusion of Scott gives the Cup Series another rookie among its ranks to compete for the Rookie of the Year award in 2016; along with Buescher, who was named the driver of Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 (with assistance from Roush Fenway Racing) yesterday (Dec. 10), Ryan Blaney (Wood Bros. Racing’s No. 21) and Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24) have also been announced as Cup rookies.
“I am thrilled to go Sprint Cup Series racing full time next year and to do it with such an iconic team,” Scott said in a press statement. “When you think NASCAR racing, you think Petty. I’m glad to now be a part of that legacy. I had a lot of fun competing in the XFINITY Series for the last seven years, and I’m excited to take the next step. I ran some races in the Sprint Cup Series the last few years and learned a lot. I feel like we are in a good position to compete for the Rookie of the Year next year and continue the consistency that RPM built over the last few years.”
“We’re happy to welcome Brian to the team,” team co-owner Richard Petty added. “Our team has worked very hard to continue our winning tradition and building consistency. We feel Brian is a great addition to that. He’s made a steady progression through the ranks, and now, we feel he’s ready to compete in the Sprint Cup Series.”
Scott joins Aric Almirola, who returns to the team’s fabled No. 43 seat for the fifth year in a row.
The 27-year-old Scott has driven in 17 Sprint Cup Series races dating back to 2013, 10 of which came in 2015. His career best remains 12th at Kansas Speedway last season, though he scored a pole at Talladega Superspeedway in 2014. In 208 XFINITY races — he’s been full time on the circuit since 2010 — Scott scored 20 top 5s and 77 top 10s with a best points finish of fourth in 2014.
As it stands, Scott’s only wins in a top NASCAR series came in the Camping World Truck Series, where he won twice — once in 2009 as a full-time competitor and again in 2012.
A replacement for Scott at Richard Childress Racing in the XFINITY Series — if any — has not been announced.