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

Leave a comment

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.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.