When NASCAR goes road-course racing, there are always a handful of teams who put a road-course specialist behind the wheel instead of their usual driver, in hopes to get a better finish and possibly contend for a win.
Check out the five drivers who will be making their 2017 debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and a couple who are making their first-ever NASCAR Cup Series start.
Alon Day, No. 23 BK Racing
The 25-year-old from Ashdod, Israel will become the first Israeli to compete in the Monster Energy Series when he makes his debut in the No. 23 BK Racing Toyota this weekend at Sonoma.
Day currently drives in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series where he’s scored seven wins and finished second and third in the points standings in the past two years. He also made two starts in both the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series in 2016.
At age 53, Boris Said has made a NASCAR career as a road-course ringer. He’s competed in 52 Monster Energy Series events with most of them being road course races. He’ll sub in for Jeffrey Earnhardt this weekend in the No. 33 Circle Sport / TMG Chevrolet.
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Billy Johnson, No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
After Aric Almirola suffered a back injury at Kansas, it’s been a revolving door of drivers in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. After Regan Smith filled in for a few races, the torch was passed to Darrell Wallace, Jr. His lack of experience at road courses led to RPM calling on IMSA road-course specialist Billy Johnson this weekend.
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Josh Bilicki, No. 51 Rick Ware Racing
The Wisconsin-native will serve as Rick Ware’s road-course driver in the No. 51 this season, first at Sonoma and then at Watkins Glen.
Bilicki made his 2017 debut in the XFINITY Series in the No. 40 Chevrolet for MBM Motorsports at Michigan last weekend. He raced in three XFINITY Series races in 2016.
Tommy Regan, No. 55 Premium Motorsports
The California-native has made six Truck Series starts over the past several seasons and will drive the No. 55 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend at Sonoma in his Cup Series debut.