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Last season, NextGen Motorsports took its turn in NASCAR, putting together a K&N Pro Series East program. Less than one year later, the family-owned operation is heading to the Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series on a part-time schedule.
Teddy Brown, competition director at NextGen Motorsports and longtime NASCAR crew chief, confirmed to Frontstretch that the team will be running between 10 and 15 Truck races in 2018 after purchasing equipment from Brad Keselowski Racing. The team’s first race will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February.
Brown said he is hoping to have Landon Huffman compete in 10 events for the team and partake in a driver-coach role. He also believes that the team can put together a deal at the road courses for 2015 Stock Car Brasil champion Marcos Gomes.
“Right now, we’re going to run 10, but we could run more,” Brown said. “We had a very positive meeting with K-Play, one of our sponsors, and they are really excited about what we’re doing.”
At Kansas Speedway in mid-October, the team made its XFINITY Series debut with Josh Berry, finishing 33rd. The No. 55 team failed to qualify for the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Matt Mills behind the wheel.
This season, the team plans on competing in eight XFINITY races, hoping to land a deal with Huffman for a handful of events. The three road course events, in theory, would be split up between Gomes and Enrique Baca. Huffman confirmed to Frontstretch that no deal has been accepted as of now.
“We don’t want to compete against JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing,” Brown said. “They have a budget that we will never see. All we want to do is get out there with our drivers and have them head in that direction so that Gibbs can pick them up, or RCR, whoever it may be.
“This way they are learning how to come into the pits and learning how to restart. All of these things are so important and it’s hard to spend all that money to learn. They can come with us, they can learn and we can build them a car that can run 15th-30th but they are learning the whole time.”
Brown and team owner Jennifer Brown (wife) plan on taking their XFINITY team to Bristol Motor Speedway (April 14), Pocono Raceway (June 2), Kentucky Speedway (July 13), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 4), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 11), Road America (Aug. 25), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 3) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 17).
The Brown family enters the 2018 season with a handful of full-time employees as well as help from their children Reed (12 years old), Stafford (14), and Weber (15). It also receives assistance from Jose Sabates, chairman of the board at NextGen Motorsports, while Carlos Crespo and Gustavo Arenas are investment partners. Crespo is a full partner in the team’s K&N Series East program as well.
The team has yet to come up with a number but wants to run the No. 55 in both the XFINITY and Truck Series. They’ll serve under the Toyota banner with a simple goal of competing. The No. 55 in the XFINITY Series is reportedly going to be run by JP Motorsports in 2018, however.
Over on the Truck side, the team also hopes to benefit from a change in horsepower with this year’s spec engine rule.
“We feel like we can be competitive in the Truck Series going to Ilmor motors,” Brown mentioned. “I’ve been through Ilmor motors with the ARCA cars, and it really levels the playing ground out. I feel really good about our Truck Series program.
“With our XFINITY program, we’ve got to spend more time in the wind tunnel and more time on the pull-down machine and the shaker rig.”
NextGen Motorsports also hopes to run Gomes in the first six K&N Pro Series East events with a chance of running the entire 13-race schedule. Juan Gonzalez, who has competed in the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, will be running full-time in the No. 55 Toyota.