GAFFNEY, S.C. – NASCAR’s No. 2 series has a new name – the Xfinity Series – in 2015, but the series has a lineup filled with familiar names.
Few of them have been around the sport longer than South Carolina team owner Johnny Davis, who has been involved in NASCAR racing since 1981 and has fielded an Xfinity team since 2002.
And JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, Davis’ Gaffney, S.C.-based team, will have a bigger footprint than ever on the Xfinity circuit in the new season.
Davis plans to field three teams – one for team veteran driver Landon Cassill and others for newcomers Ross Chastain and Harrison Rhodes. Cassill will return to the 01 Chevrolet, while Chastain will drive the No. 4. Rhodes will be in the 0 Chevy.
“Everybody here is working frantically to get ready for the new season,” said Davis, who once was a crew member on Xfinity championship teams led by David Pearson and his son, Larry, who drove the cars. “We plan to put solid cars on the track for Landon, Ross and Harrison starting with the first race in Daytona, and we’re looking for a season better than any we’ve ever had here. The year is something to really look forward to for this team.”
Davis and his drivers and mechanics will be building on a very successful 2014, the best year in the team’s history.
Cassill finished 12th in series points last year, scoring three top 10s. He had a best start of ninth and a best finish of eighth – both at Iowa Speedway in his home state. Cassill completed 91 percent of the laps run last year and was 10th in points on four occasions.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driving the team’s other car last year, finished 18th in points.
“For a team with some financial limitations, we had a great season,” Davis said. “To put both of our cars in the top 20 in points was a great accomplishment. Landon had another solid season and flirted with the top 10 in points.
“We had enough momentum last year to jump forward into 2015 with enthusiasm. Adding a third team will be a challenge, but it’s going to help us overall. And we’re thrilled to be adding two quality drivers in Ross Chastain and Harrison Rhodes.”
Cassill returns to run the full schedule for JD Motorsports with sponsorship from G&K Services. Veteran Dave Fuge is back as Cassill’s crew chief.
Chastain, 23, has four years of experience in the Camping World Truck Series and raced in seven Xfinity races last season, scoring a top 10 at Kentucky Speedway.
Chastain, from Alva, Fla., ran the full Truck schedule in 2012, posting one top five and four top 10s. In 2013, he ran 14 Truck events, with four top fives and seven top 10s.
Chastain will race with sponsorship from Watermelon.org. Gary Cogswell will be the team’s crew chief.
Rhodes, a 21-year-old resident of High Point, N.C., has experience in the Xfinity Series. He ran seven races in 2013 and six in 2014. He ran K&N East races in 2012 and 2013, scoring a pair of top 10s.
Rhodes started his racing career at the age of 10, driving quarter- midgets. He successfully raced quarter-midgets for four seasons.
In 2007, Rhodes started racing Legends cars with Dan Snyder Racing. He had four wins the first season and scored 33 feature wins in his second year.
In 2010, Rhodes began racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in Late Model Stock.
“We can’t wait to get started at Daytona,” Davis said of his team. “We’ve worked hard in the off-season to get everything ready and the right people in the right places. We’re ready to roll.”