Landon Cassill returns to Cup Series, to drive two races for StarCom Racing


Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

After losing his ride at Front Row Motorsports following the 2017 season, Landon Cassill returns to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway, where he will drive the #00 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for StarCom Racing with sponsorship from the United States First Responders Association (USFRA). The team made an announcement on Monday.

“StarCom Racing was privileged to acquire a new partnership with USFRA and Landon Cassill behind the wheel,” team manager Derrike Cope stated. “I’m optimistic that his knowledge and experience will only help our efforts as well as the growth of our team.”

Cassill spent the last two seasons with FRM, driving the #38 in 2016 and the #34 in 2017 as he finished twenty-ninth and thirty-first in points, respectively, with a best run of eleventh at the 2016 spring Talladega Superspeedway race. In October 2017, Cassill revealed he had been released by the team.

The move to StarCom comes a day after the team announced it would be parting ways with Jeffrey Earnhardt, who ran the first five races of the 2018 season in the #00. Following the five events, Earnhardt sat thirty-third in the standings, the worst among full-time drivers.

“‪We want to thank Jeffrey Earnhardt for his time with SCR, we have mutually agreed to move in different directions at this time,” the team posted on Facebook. “It was a pleasure working together and we wish much success to Jeffrey and his team.”

StarCom Racing is not the first startup team Cassill had raced for in the Cup Series. In 2012, he was the first full-time driver for BK Racing, which had rebranded from Team Red Bull after the 2011 season. He will run a two-race schedule for StarCom at Martinsville and Texas Motor Speedway.

“I love working with new teams. I feel like that is one of my strengths,” Cassill said. “StarCom Racing looks like they are in it for the long haul, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

After the 2012 season, he was released by BK and joined Circle Sport in 2013, for whom he drove the #33 car. When co-owner Mike Hillman split to form his own team, Hillman Racing, Cassill followed as he became the driver of the #40 car for 2014. Despite running for Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) points that year with JD Motorsports, he competed in every Cup race that year, and recorded his best career top level finish of fourth at Talladega in the fall. He remained with both Hillman and JD through the 2015 season, finishing eighteenth in Xfinity points. In two years with JD, Cassill scored five top-ten finishes with a best run of eighth on three occasions (Talladega and Road America in 2014, Darlington Raceway in 2015).

Before the turn of the decade, Cassill had been a Hendrick Motorsports development driver, which included racing for HMS affiliate JR Motorsports in the Busch/Nationwide Series. In sixteen races with JRM in 2008, he had five top tens. In 2010, the Iowan signed with Phoenix Racing to make his Cup Series debut at Michigan International Speedway, where he finished thirty-eighth. He ran sporadically for Phoenix, TRG Motorsports, Gunselman Motorsports, and Germain Racing in 2010 and 2011.

A popular name on social media, the 28-year-old Cedar Rapids native developed a following on Twitter for his various antics. During his FRM tenure, he frequently retweeted images from fans of sponsor Love’s Travel Stops, while his 2016 campaign was marked by coining the phrase “38, nice”.

“Just in time to squeeze in a race before the weekend off,” Cassill tweeted in response to the StarCom announcement.

Cassill’s first race with StarCom, the STP 500, will take place on Sunday. In fifteen Cup races at the short track, his best finish is nineteenth in 2012 and 2014. His second race, the following week’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas, will be his sixteenth start at the 1.5-mile oval; his best run is twenty-fifth in 2015 and 2016.