TriStar to field full-time NASCAR Cup team in 2017
Mark Smith is bringing TriStar Motorsports back to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 2017.
TriStar will field the No. 72 machine in all 36 events this year, returning to the Cup level for the first time since 2013. Motorsport.com has learned that they've acquired a Charter from Front Row Motorsports, so they are guaranteed a starting position in all events.
Cole Whitt will serve as the driver with Florida Lottery coming on as the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500. RTIC Coolers, Rinnai and Carolina Skiff will also back Whitt throughout the 2017 season. Veteran crew chief Frank Kerr will sit atop the pit box and call the shots for the No. 72.
"I'm looking forward to being back in the seat at TriStar Motorsports for the Monster Energy Cup Series for 2017", said Whitt in a release from the team. "We are glad to have Florida Lottery back with us for the season opener at Daytona and are fortunate to continue and expand our relationship with Rinnai, RTIC Coolers and Carolina Skiff throughout the year."
Whitt, 25, has 112 MENCS starts since 2011 with a career-best result of 11th. Whitt has competed for TriStar in the Xfinity Series as recently as last year. The Mark Smith-owned team has a lengthy history in NASCAR that dates back to 1989, but has focused solely on their NXS effort for the last few years.
"We are taking a different approach and expanding our competitive platform for 2017", added team owner Mark Smith. "It is an opportunity we feel is the best direction for this season and we are pleased to have Cole and his partners involved in those efforts."
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