The 2014 season was a year of new beginnings for BK Racing as it signed two rookie drivers in Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex. With two new faces on the team, both were eligible for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, in what was a rather larger rookie class in recent seasons.
Although the season officially kicked off with the Daytona 500, both drivers didn’t get the opportunity to begin their year with the Great American race. Bowman managed to qualify for his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut. Meanwhile, Truex missed to make the field during the Budweiser Duel 150 race. He didn’t get to start his first race with the No. 83 team until the following week at Phoenix.
As the season progressed, both Truex and Bowman received a new teammate in Cole Whitt, who joined the team after the closure of Swan Racing. With the addition of a third full-time Toyota Camry, BK Racing increased its opportunity to compete for Rookie of the Year honors as Whitt was also eligible.
All together, the three rookies had minimal highlights to their season. Truex made his debut at tracks such as Pocono Raceway – a track he had never raced before—and finished inside the top 20. Bowman captured his best results in the superspeedway races.
The team also saw some results that hurt them as well. At the end of the year, Bowman finished with six DNFs, Whitt had four DNFs and Truex had eight DNFs.
The year for Truex featured a lot of inconsistency, as his results throughout the season didn’t had him inside of the top 30 just twice at Martinsville and the August Pocono race. Along with the Daytona 500, he also failed to qualify for the races at Texas and Michigan. For the second race at Michigan, BK Racing replaced him with J.J. Yeley after a wreck in practice, where Truex suffered a concussion.
In September, following the race at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex was once again replaced in the No. 83 car – this time by Travis Kvapil. The race at Chicago was the last time Truex was drove the No. 83 after a 42nd-place finish. Although no explanation had been given at the time, it was later confirmed that Truex was no longer with BK Racing.
Despite the short year, Truex did manage to improve some of his results from his few starts in 2013. He captured a career-best finish of 20th at Pocono. His best qualifying effort was at the Richmond spring race, where he qualified eighth.
In 2014, Truex averaged a 35.6 finish and a 35.3 start.
Meanwhile, Bowman, one of the two original drivers in the BK racing line-up did finish out the year with the team. By the year’s end, he went on to finish in 35th-place within the standings. He captured a career-best finish at the Coke Zero 400 with a 13th-place finish.
Bowman also found some consistency during the races at Darlington, RIchmond and Talladega in the spring, finishing inside the top 30. In qualifying, Bowman's best starting effort came in the second Talladega race of the year, where he qualified in 14th.
As for his year end results, Bowman averaged a 32.5 finish and a 32.9 start in his rookie season in the Cup Series.
Whitt, the third BK Racing driver, fared a bit better than his teammates. Along with Bowman, he made all 36 starts (eight with Swan Racing) and averaged a 33.4 start and a 29.3 finish. He did, however, improve his average finish, as he averaged a 33.9 result in seven starts during the 2013 season.
The year didn't feature any of the BK Racing drivers finishing among the top-30 in the points. Whitt finished the highest of the three drivers. Truex’s season ended earlier than Bowman’s, but only finished four spots behind him in the final standings, in 39th.
As for the race for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, Whitt finished ahead of both Bowman and Truex, as he finished in fourth. Bowman finished in sixth and Truex finished seventh.
Heading into 2015, BK Racing has not made any announcements on what their driver line-up will look like, but one thing is for sure – Truex will not be returning. Truex’s future plans have yet to be announced, but he still has a developmental contract with Richard Petty Motorsports.
BK Racing team owner Ron Devine clarified with Speedway Digest that Bowman will be returning to the organization as they look to resign Dr. Pepper.
As for Whitt, his name has been connected with Front Row Motorsports in some off season rumors. In an e-mail to Speedway Digest several weeks ago, the Ford organization denied rumors that they have signed Whitt. However, Devine and co-owner Anthony Marlowe have confirmed that he will not return to the Toyota team.
With the off-season coming to a close soon, the organization is looking to continue fielding two-three full-time cars, with one part-time car. In the rumor mill to replace Truex include Kvapil, Yeley and Clay Rogers, who missed a race for Beard Motorsports after being out-run in qualifying by BK Racing’s start-and-park car, and eventually ran two events for BKR.