By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
JP Motorsports will expand to a two-car operation in the Xfinity Series after announcing Monday that Josh Bilicki will run the No. 45 Prevagan Toyota for the entire season, beginning in the Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona February 17.
The initial plan was was to run a second car at Atlanta, but that all changed after acquiring a car from Joe Gibbs Racing Friday, allowing Bilicki to compete for Rookie of the Year honors.
“I’m ecstatic to announce a full season effort in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JP Motorsports in the #45 Prevagen Toyota Camry,” said Bilicki. “I have gained a lot of valuable experience over the past two years by racing at different tracks and with different teams, but it will be nice to show up to every race this year with the same team.”
Bilicki’s ties with Prevagan dates back to last year after sponsoring him in four out of his six Xfinity Series starts, as well as his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Loudon.
“This certainly wouldn’t be possible without Prevagen,” says Bilicki. “They were my primary sponsor at several NASCAR races last year, so it will be great to have them for a full season this year. The company began in a building only five miles from my house, which I find very cool. They are still located in Wisconsin, so I hope to be able to grow the Wisconsin Prevagen brand throughout the 2018 season.”
The 22-year-old from Menominee Falls, Wisconsin will be teammates with former Xfinity Series winner Stephen Leicht, who will attempt his first full season since 2007 in the No. 55 Toyota.
Known as a road course specialist, Bilicki’s best Xfinity Series finish to date was 12th last August at Road America, driving for B.J. McLeod.
“I come from a road course racing background, so there are still several NASCAR tracks that I have yet to race,” Bilicki added. “It feels great to have the business side of things done before the season starts, so now I can focus solely on driving. It will be a year full of learning, but we have good equipment and cars and will be competitive from the start.”
The new team owned by Phyllis and Jerry Hattaway, purchased cars from TriStar Motorsports during the off-season. Jason Houghtaling will be Bilicki’s crew chief.