Brian Scott to attempt Daytona 500 debut for RCR

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One of Richard Childress Racing’s other young drivers – Brian Scott – will make his first attempt to race in the Daytona 500 this year in a fourth RCR Chevrolet. Scott will run the No. 33 Shore Lodge Idaho Chevrolet with Nick Harrison, formerly of Phoenix Racing, as his crew chief. RCR announced the move via its Twitter feed on Tuesday.

Scott made a respectable NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway last October, qualifying 19th and finishing 27th. He’s been confirmed for a full-season NASCAR Nationwide Series effort with RCR.

This sets Scott up in a good position for 2015. A year ago, RCR employed the same strategy with Austin Dillon, running him in a fourth car at the Daytona 500 with other selected Cup starts along the way. Dillon went on to take the season title and advance into Cup full-time in the No. 3 Chevrolet, returning that iconic number to Cup for the first time since 2001.

If Scott continues to improve on the Nationwide side – he had his best season of his career in 2013 and came up just short of his elusive first victory – he could move into full-time Cup contention for the following season.

F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.