Two West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame members – Rick Carelli and Jerry Baxter – have new “homes” for the 2017 NASCAR season.
Carelli, Class of 2009, joins Furniture Row Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as spotter for rookie of the year contender Erik Jones.
The Denver native, who won driver championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR Elite Series, Southwest Tour, previously spotted Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch.
For Carelli, it’s a case of good news, bad news.
He’s reunited with a hometown, Rocky Mountain-based team working with one of NASCAR’s brightest young prospects. Carelli, however, missed the opportunity to celebrate a Daytona 500 victory with Busch.
Baxter, Class of 2015, nearly captured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship crew chief accolades a season ago with rookie Christopher Bell at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Bell made it all the way to the Homestead playoff finale, finishing third.
For Baxter, a San Diego native, it’s a case of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Baxter switched to GMS Racing, which backed veteran Johnny Sauter to the series title in 2016. Baxter likely will be in the playoffs for the second consecutive season with rookie of the year contender Kaz Grala, winner of the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway.