Brian Burns remains at JTG-Daugherty as Allmendinger’s crew chief, sees bigger things ahead in 2015


When you have a winning combination, great communication and the promise of an even brighter future, why go anywhere else?

That’s the case with Brian Burns, who on Wednesday announced he has signed to remain at JTG-Daugherty Racing as crew chief for A.J. Allmendinger and the No. 47 Chevrolet SS team.

“I’m happy to be back on board as crew chief and I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing,” Burns, who will start his third team with the organization in 2015, said in a team media release. “Last season, I was able to get to know AJ both personally and professionally and I feel like the relationship we have formed is great.

“Chemistry is vitally important to have between the driver, crew chief and team and we have all gotten to know each other more. I feel like great things are in store for us this season.”

JTG-Daugherty is a rarity among NASCAR’s top organizations in the fact that it is only a one-car Sprint Cup organization.

Still, that didn’t prevent Allmendinger and the team from pulling off one of the most exciting finishes of the 2014 season with JTG-D’s first-ever Sprint Cup win last August at Watkins Glen International.

With the way Allmendinger and Burns jelled together to start the 2014 season, you could almost predict that the team was a win waiting to happen – and it finally did at Watkins Glen.

“I am really happy to have Brian back as my crew chief,” Allmendinger said. “As the year (2014) went on, he kept growing and getting better as a leader and as the crew chief to the No. 47 Chevrolet SS team.

“He was a huge part in bringing myself and the team its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and I can’t wait to build on that heading into the 2015 season. I wouldn’t want any other guy to work with than Brian to help take our team to the next level.”

The win at WGI propelled Allmendinger into the Chase for the Sprint Cup for not only the first time in his career, but also in JTG-D’s existence.

As a result, expectations and hopes are high for 2015.

“I think continuity in a driver & crew chief relationship is important,” team co-owner Tad Geschickter said. “AJ and Brian came a long way toward learning how to communicate with each other in 2014.  I feel confident that progress will continue in 2015.

“We also learned a lot about how to best use the resources from our technical alliance with RCR (Richard Childress Racing). I’m glad that we can build on what we did in 2014 rather than being forced to start over in both areas.”

Under Burns’ direction, JTG-D also earned its highest-ever season finish in the Sprint Cup standings, 13th, since it began competing in the series in mid-2008.

“Actually, last year was a rebuilding year for us and to run as well as we did at times, win a race and make the Chase shows what an organization of our size is capable of doing,” Burns said.

So where does the team go from here?

“Our focus this year is being consistent,” Burns said. “We struggled with that last season. I don’t know if many people realize it, but this is the first year we haven’t had to do something major to prepare for the season like changing manufacturers or joining an alliance and getting in new equipment. When you have to do something big like that, it clouds getting things prepped and ready.

“Now, we have the opportunity to go through everything and fine tune things instead of having to start from scratch like we have before. It should really help us with consistency so we can have the opportunity to finish even stronger in the points.”

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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll


Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.