Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Daytona 500 in 45 days

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


During the off-season, Anthony Ballantoni and Rotoworld.com keep you up-to-date on what's happening with NASCAR. Looking Ahead gives a snapshot of driver moves, new teams, new sponsors and other general NASCAR news. With 45 days to go until the 2011 season-opening Daytona 500, here are some recent updates.

Cup team updates:
-Michael Waltrip plans a variety of 2011 races. He'll join co-owner Rob Kauffman behind the wheel of a Ferrari sports car in Portugal, Dubai and probably several other tracks across the globe. He'll climb behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car for another shot at the Daytona 500, the new race at Kentucky Speedway and possibly a few more races along the way. In 2010, Waltrip led laps at both Talladega races and finished 18th in the Daytona 500.
-Denny Hamlin gave a huge Christmas gift to a fan who answered a question he posed to all his followers on Twitter. His Twitter was: "Make sure u check in christmas day at 3pm est. I'm giving away a dream vacation to one of my followers. Location of your choice, flight and spending money all included." Jennifer Meyering of Pennsylvania was the 11th fan who correctly answered the sum of all the presents in the "12 Days of Christmas" (364). She chose to go (along with 3 guests) to the 2011 Brickyard 400.
-J.J. Yeley found a nice Christmas present under the tree in the form of a full-time ride with Whitney Motorsports in 2011. According to the team's Facebook page, Yeley will be driving the No. 46 Chevrolet next season. The team recently announced that Cash America International has agreed to a four-race sponsorship package. The team finished 42nd in the owner's standings (in 2010), making the field on 22 occasions with four different drivers. Yeley was in the car for 11 races, followed by Michael McDowell (seven), Terry Cook (three) and Terry Labonte (one).
-Gillette announced the launch of its expanded Gillette Young Guns program by unveiling the 2011 roster of six rising stars in their respective sports: Matt Ryan and Ray Rice from football, Evan Longoria and Carlos Gonzalez from baseball and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch from auto racing. The Young Guns program highlights up-and-coming stars and gives fans an in-depth look into the keys to their success both on and off the field.
-Chip Ganassi announced his 2-Car lineup for the January 29-30 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the reigning Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions, will be joined in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target BMW-Prepared Riley prototype by GRAND-AM veteran Joey Hand and Graham Rahal. In the No. 02 Target/TELMEX BMW-Prepared Riley, last year's Daytona team returns intact: Jamie McMurray, two-time Rolex 24 champion Juan Pablo Montoya and two IndyCar vets - two-time series titlist Scott Dixon and the series' reigning champ, Dario Franchitti.


Nationwide Series updates:
-Kenny Wallace has signed a new deal to run the full 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. Wallace will make his debut in RAB's No. 09 Toyota Camry on Saturday, February 19, 2011, in the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
-Mike Wallace will return to the No. 01 Chevrolet for team owner Johnny Davis in 2011. Davis and Wallace agreed they have what it takes to be successful. The only thing they are lacking is the proper funding and marketing partners to make it happen.
-Penske Racing announced Todd Gordon has been named as the crew chief for the defending NASCAR Nationwide Series championship-winning No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge team for 2011. Gordon most recently served as race engineer for Diamond-Waltrip Racing in the Nationwide Series. He will be paired with Brad Keselowski as the No. 22 team will once again pursue the Nationwide Series title in 2011.
-Rusty Wallace Racing announced Doug Randolph has been named crew chief for Steve Wallace and RWR's No. 66 Toyota in the Nationwide Series. Randolph joins RWR following stints as crew chief at such organizations as Richard Childress Racing, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Petty Enterprises. In his most recent Nationwide Series crew chief role, Randolph led Childress's No. 29 team and Clint Bowyer to wins at Daytona and Dover in 2009.
-Travis Pastrana has joined the ownership group of Michael Waltrip's No. 99 Nationwide team. With Pastrana aboard, the team will be known as Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Pastrana has four Rally car championships to go along with his extensive list of motocross and X games accomplishments. The plan for Pastrana is to have him test weekly with his Nationwide team and likely compete in K&N Pro Series West events before making his Nationwide debut.
-According to a Facebook post by Rick Rusell, owner of 2nd Chance Motorsports: "It's now official, 2nd Chance Motorsports and Jennifer Jo Cobb racing are joining forces for the first 5 Nationwide series races. Jennifer will be driving the #79 Ford Mustang with Roush Yates engines. She will continue to drive her #10 truck in the Camping World Series."


Camping World Truck Series updates:
-Billy Ballew Motorsports has merged with Vision Aviation Racing and will continue to field the No. 15 and No. 51 entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team will compete under the Vision Aviation Racing banner. Ballew will keep an ownership stake in the team. Up-and-coming drivers Justin Johnson and Dusty Davis, who both competed in the Super Late Model and K&N Pro Series West divisions in 2010 for VAR, will make their Truck Series debut in 2011. The team will remain supported by Toyota.


Previously reported Sprint Cup updates(12-17-10):
-AAA will sponsor the No. 22 Dodge driven by 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 6 races.
-Keyed Up Motorsports plans to run the first five races of the 2011 season with driver Scott Riggs in the #90 Chevrolet.
-Robby Gordon settled legal battle with Specialized Bicycle Components by altering the logo for his Speed Energy drink.
-Scott Speed filed a $6.5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit Friday afternoon against Red Bull Racing, the team that released Speed following the 2010 season.
-Kasey Kahne and Red Bull Racing confirmed Tuesday that Kahne's car number in the Sprint Cup Series will be the No. 4.


Previously reported Sprint Cup updates(12-05-10):
-Hendrick Motorsports shuffles driver-crew chief pairings for 2011. No. 5 Mark Martin teams with crew chief Lance Mcgrew; No. 24 Jeff Gordon gets crew chief Alan Gustafson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. teams with Steve Letarte. Earnhardt will move to the same building with Jimmie Johnson (now the 48/88 shop) and Gordon moves in with Martin in the 5/24 shop.
-Todd Parrott will be the crew chief for Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 Stanley Tools Ford at Richard Petty Motorsports.
-The U.S. Army renews with Ryan Newman on the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 39 as primary sponsor for 15 races.
-Paul Wolfe, who led Penske Racing's No. 22 car team to the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series title, has been named crew chief for Keselowski in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team for 2011
-Richard Petty Motorsports signed and closed a sale of its racing assets to an investment group comprised of Richard Petty, Medallion Financial Corp. and DGB Investments. The team will operate the legendary No. 43 car driven by AJ Allmendinger and the No. 9 car driven by Marcos Ambrose.
-Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart won the first edition of the Las Vegas Sprint Car Nationals Presented By K&N Filters at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. - Jimmie Johnson will join GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at the Rolex 24 for the fourth consecutive year. He will be sharing the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley with two-time Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty on Jan. 29-30, 2011.
-Red Bull Racing confirmed the team's contract with Scott Speed has been terminated, effectively ending a seven-year association with the brand.
-Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected his eighth consecutive NASCAR® NMPA Most Popular Driver Award.
-Denny Hamlin named Sporting News driver of the year. His crew chief, Mike Ford, voted top crew chief of the year.




This is the tentative Sprint Cup lineup for 2011 so far:


2011 Sprint Cup Lineup - Full-time teams(Tentative)
CarDriverSponsorMakeOwner
00David ReutimannAaron'sToyotaMichael Waltrip
1Jamie McMurrayBass Pro ShopsChevrEarnhardt Ganassi
2Brad KeselowskiMiller LiteDodgePenske Racing
4Kasey KahneRed BullToyotaRed Bull
5Mark MartinGoDaddy.comChevrHendrick
6David RaganUPSFordRoush Fenway
9Marcos AmbroseStanley ToolsFordRichard Petty
11Denny HamlinFedExToyotaJoe Gibbs
13Casey MearsGEICOToyotaGermain Racing
14Tony StewartOffice DepotChevrStewart Haas
16Greg Biffle3MFordRoush Fenway
17Matt KensethCrown RoyalFordRoush Fenway
18Kyle BuschM&M'sToyotaJoe Gibbs
20Joey LoganoHome DepotToyotaJoe Gibbs
21Trevor BayneMotorcraftFordWood Brothers
22Kurt BuschShell-Pennzoil/AAADodgePenske Racing
24Jeff GordonAARP/DuPontChevrHendrick
27Paul MenardMenard'sChevrRichard Childress
29Kevin HarvickBudweiserChevrRichard Childress
31Jeff BurtonCaterpillarChevrRichard Childress
33Clint BowyerCheerios/BB&TChevrRichard Childress
39Ryan NewmanU.S. ArmyChevrStewart Haas
42Juan Pablo MontoyaTargetChevrEarnhardt Ganassi
43AJ AllmendingerBest BuyFordRichard Petty
46J.J. YeleyCash America Int'lChevrWhitney Motorsports
47Bobby LabonteLittle DebbiesToyotaJTG Daugherty
48Jimmie JohnsonLowe'sChevrHendrick
56Martin Truex Jr.NAPAToyotaMichael Waltrip
78Regan SmithFurniture RowChevrFurniture Row Racing
83Brian VickersRed Bull Energy DrinkToyotaRed Bull
87Joe Nemechek ??ToyotaNEMCO Motorsports
88Dale Earnhardt Jr.AMP Energy DrinkChevrHendrick
90Scott Riggs ?? ChevrKeyed-Up Msprts
99Carl EdwardsAflacFordRoush Fenway




Tony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at RotoWorld.com.
Email :Anthony Ballantoni



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