NASCAR Race Weekend Central

TriStar Motorsports Returning to Cup Series with Cole Whitt

TriStar Motorsports will return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2017 with Cole Whitt as its driver, piloting the No. 72 Ford beginning at Daytona International Speedway later this month.

2017 will mark the third time in Whitt’s career that he has had a full-time ride in the Cup Series, after qualifying for 26 of the 36 events in 2016 with Premium Motorsports. He also partook in the last two XFINITY Series races last season with TriStar Motorsports, with a best finish of 16th at Phoenix International Raceway.

“I’m looking forward to being back in the seat at TriStar Motorsports for the Monster Energy Cup Series for 2017,” Whitt said in a team press release. “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.”

Led by veteran crew chief Frank Kerr, TriStar Motorsports will see its first action in the Cup Series since 2013 when Mike Bliss, Alex Kennedy and Jason Leffler competed in a combined 15 races.

TriStar Motorsports is not one of the 36 race teams with a charter, which does not guarantee Whitt a starting position into every race. In 2016, Whitt failed to qualify for six races.

“We are taking a different approach and expanding our competitive platform for 2017,” Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, 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.”

In 112 career Cup Series races, Whitt has a best finish of 11th, coming last July in Daytona. He will look to compete in his third Daytona 500, if he can qualify into the event in one of the Duel races on Thursday, Feb. 23.

 

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