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Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Matt Tifft will continue their partnership during the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season with Tunity, a cutting-edge mobile application that offers race fans superior experience when watching their favorite drivers, especially out of home. As primary sponsor of the No. 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series team and Tifft for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing PR reports.

Impact

Tifft will take over the No. 19 Toyota that Daniel Suarez raced to the Xfinity Series championship last season. The JGR development driver will enjoy primary sponsorship from Tunity. Tifft will be a top contender to win Rookie of the Year in the Xfinity Series this season.

Rick Ware Racing announced the team's intent to compete in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as an "open non-chartered" team beginning with next month's 59th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. RWR's return to the elite level of NASCAR will have Timmy Hill aboard the No. 51 Chevrolet for Speedweeks with a rotating list of drivers to follow throughout the season.

Impact

RWR will run the full schedule in 2017, and they will start things off with Hill behind the wheel for Speedweeks at Daytona. The team doesn't have a charter in NASCAR's top division, so Hill will be forced to race his way into the Daytona 500 through the qualifying races.

Team owner Shigeaki Hattori confirmed that Ryan Truex has been signed as the full-time driver of the No. 81 Toyota Tundra for Hattori Racing Enterprises this season, catchfence.com reports.

Impact

Truex enjoyed some limited success racing with this small team in 2016. He made 15 starts and collected four Top-10 finishes. The No. 81 Toyota team will go full-time in the upcoming season and Truex will get to show what he can do with a full slate in the truck series. This driver and team should improve in the coming season and Truex could surprise the larger teams with some hard-earned Top-10 finishes.

Alex Bowman's focus returns to NASCAR. When it comes to unemployed Monster Energy Cup drivers, it would difficult to find one with as much potential as Bowman, motorsport.com reports.

Impact

Right now there are no plans for Bowman to compete in NASCAR's top division beyond the season-opening Daytona exhibition event. It seems more likely that he'll compete on a part-time basis for one of JR Motorsports' Xfinity Series teams in 2017. Bowman opened eyes last year in relief duty of Dale Earnhardt Jr., but there are no current plans for the young driver to compete in the Monster Energy Cup Series.

NASCAR will allow Daniel Suarez to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 car in the preseason race at Daytona, ESPN.com reports.

Impact

With the retirement of Carl Edwards the No. 19 team was facing the possibility of not racing in the season-opening Clash at Daytona. However, NASCAR is going to grant an exemption to the team with incoming driver Suarez. Even though the rookie driver doesn't technically qualify for the Clash, he'll get to race in this exhibition event that kicks off the NASCAR season.

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row Racing announced that Auto-Owners Insurance has agreed to a multiyear primary sponsorship for Truex Jr.'s No. 78 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series, furniturerowracing.com reports.

Impact

Auto-Owners Insurance will double the amount of primary sponsorship from three to six events in the next two seasons. The program starts in May at Kansas Speedway and also includes dates at Michigan, Indianapolis, Richmond, Charlotte and Phoenix. Truex and this team has been coming on strong the past two seasons, so this is a good amount of exposure that the company will get nationally.

Pascal Wehrlein has been confirmed at Sauber for the 2017 season, reports Sky Sports.

Impact

Wehrlein was a serious consideration to replace retiring Nico Rosberg at Mercedes AMG Petronas, but instead will move from Manor to Sauber alongside Marcus Ericsson. He claimed Manor's only point in the 2016 season with a 10th-place finish in Austria.

Felipe Massa will race for Williams in 2017 after announcing his intent to retire from the series just two months ago, reports Sky Sports.

Impact

Nico Rosberg's retirement after winning the 2016 championship set in motion a series of driver moves that left an open race seat at Williams. Opting for experience and continuity the team worked to bring Massa back to partner rookie Lance Stroll in 2017. Massa has 250 starts in the series with 11 victories and 41 podiums.

Mercedes AMG Petronas confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will replace retiring and reigning champion Nico Rosberg at the squad in 2017, according to multiple sources.

Impact

Rumors of the Finnish driver replacing Rosberg at the championship-winning team have been ever present for the past month. Bottas was finally able to be confirmed after all other drivers impacted by the Mercedes decision finalized their plans for the coming season. He has nine career Formula1 podiums since debuting in the series in 2013.

There's no race in the world that means more to Christopher Bell than the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. He's been close to winning a few times. He probably should have gotten that coveted Golden Driller in 2016, but he was too aggressive and spun out while battling lapped traffic. But one year later Bell was more patient, and his patience paid off. Bell is finally the winner of the Chili Bowl, speed51.com reports.

Impact

Bell followed Justin Grant in the early going of the main, but he would quickly move up the track and take the lead. Bell took the checkered flag and became the first Oklahoman to win the Chili Bowl since 1994. This is the biggest accomplishment of this young driver's career. The Chili Bowl Nationals are the equivalent of the Super Bowl of Midget racing.

RSS Racing is again planning a full season with Ryan Sieg behind the wheel of the No. 39 Chevrolet. The team is still searching for sponsorship for Sieg. RSS is also prepared to run a second car in 2017 if the right driver and sponsor materializes, RSS Racing PR reports.

Impact

Not only is Sieg getting better each season, but the team has plans to expand to potentially two teams in 2017. However, that would be contingent on a number of factors developing. Sieg has taken this small, single-car team from obscurity to competitive racing in the Xfinity Series in just a few short years.

Denny Hamlin

Sport Clips Haircuts is an active sponsor in NASCAR and is excited to enter its ninth season as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin enters his 12th full season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 behind the wheel of the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series in 2017, Joe Gibbs Racing PR reports.

Impact

Sport Clips will return to the No. 11 Toyota this season. They will pick up primary sponsorship on Hamlin's Toyota for two dates, and will be an associate sponsor on the car for the full season. Hamlin had a strong 2016 season and should post similar numbers in the upcoming campaign.

After two full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons at ThorSport Racing, Cameron Hayley won't return in 2017, catchfence.com reports.

Impact

Despite having a pretty good season in 2016, the Canadian won't be returning to ThorSport Racing this season. Hayley racked up six Top-5 and 11 Top-10 finishes en route to a respectable 10th-place finish in the final standings. The 20-year-old driver has some pretty good skills, so Hayley shouldn't have too much trouble landing another ride in the Camping World Truck Series.

Rico Abreu will not return to full-time competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with ThorSport Racing this season, motorsport.com reports.

Impact

Abreu had kind of a rocky rookie season with this team last year. He claimed only five Top-10 finishes and ended up a disappointing 13th in the final driver standings. Abreu tried to negotiate a new contract with ThorSport but sponsors for the team came up short. "I wish things could have worked out," Abreu said. "The way sponsorship goes, sometimes things change. That's just the way things go. I'm not going to give up on it. I'm just going to take a step back."

Kasey Kahne

Long-time JR Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 88 Chevrolet at Daytona in February and Talladega in May, reports.

Impact

The No. 88 Xfinity Series team has been a full-time team the last two years. They'll be shifting to part-time in 2017 since JRM is expanding to four-other full-time teams. Kahne will split the ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr. The veteran will get to lead off the season at Daytona and race at another superspeedway, Talladega, in the spring.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Continuing a tradition of running his own JR Motorsports Chevy each season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make a pair of starts in the No. 88 Chevy Camaro this season in races at Bristol in August and Richmond in September, jrmracing.com reports.

Impact

This is a slight reduction of starts over what Earnhardt has done normally the last several seasons. The NASCAR icon is usually good for around four starts per year in this division of NASCAR, but he'll be taking on only two this season. Earnhardt is a strong contender to crack the Top 5 each time he makes a start in the Xfinity Series, so the summer Bristol and Richmond races should be great efforts for the No. 88 team.

Brendan Gaughan will attempt to race in the Daytona 500 this year. Gaughan said he will drive the Chevy Michael McDowell wheeled to a 15th-place finish for Leavine Family Racing in last year's race, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

Impact

A one-start ride is coming together for the Daytona 500. Gaughan would have to qualify based on lap time or the qualifying races as the team doesn't have a charter. It will be the old Leavine Family Racing car that McDowell used to crack the Top 15 in last year's Great American Race. Engines and pit crew will be supplied by Richard Childress Racing for Gaughan. The veteran driver has only three starts at Daytona in NASCAR's top division, but one of those was a 19th-place finish in the 2004 Daytona 500.

In an effort to develop talent for its NASCAR program long-term, Ford Performance announced it is formally initiating a multi-tiered NASCAR driver development program. The first stage of that program will be a formal relationship with Brad Keselowski Racing and its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series effort, where Ford has signed Chase Briscoe as one of the drivers for BKR for the 2017 season as part of his development, teambkr.com reports.

Impact

Briscoe is the 2016 ARCA Series champion and 22-year-old prodigy from Indiana. His background is Sprint Cars and Quarter Midgets and he's quickly adapted to stock car racing. Briscoe will get either the No. 19 or No. 29 Ford truck for the upcoming season, and he'll be one of the top contenders to win Rookie of the Year in the Camping World Truck Series.

Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevy, Tommy Baldwin Racing PR reports.

Impact

The team's No. 7 Chevrolet is an open entry since the departure of Regan Smith at the end of last season. That left the team in limbo heading into 2017. TBR has decided to field the car for the upcoming Daytona 500 with Sadler behind the wheel. If he makes the field, it will be his 14th start in the Great American Race. Sadler has three Top-5 and six Top-10 finishes in this event, so he could give this small race team a fighting shot for a surprising Top-10 finish.

2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion, Daniel Suarez has been named the driver of Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 19 Toyota for 2017 running for Rookie of Year award, Joe Gibbs Racing reports.

Impact

The young driver becomes the new pilot of Gibbs' No. 19 Toyota Camry in NASCAR's top division. ARRIS, Stanley and Subway will all return as primary sponsors on the team's car. Carl Edwards' crew chief, Dave Rogers, will stay on with the team and begin mentoring Suarez. As a result of his full-time Cup schedule, Suarez is expected to reduce his Xfinity Series starts to around 10 in the upcoming season. He'll be totally focused on making the Chase field and winning Rookie of the Year in 2017.