Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Looking Ahead: 85 to Daytona

Friday, December 02, 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 85 days to go until the 2012 season-opening Daytona 500, here are some recent updates followed by a tentative list of 2012 Sprint Cup Driver/Team lineups.

Cup team updates:

- Shane Wilson has been named the crew chief of the No. 29 Budweiser team with driver Kevin Harvick after three seasons in the same position with Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 team. Gil Martin, the No. 29 crew chief since May 2009 and a crew chief at RCR since August 2000, has been named director of team operations. This is not the first time Wilson and Harvick have worked together. They joined forces in 2006 to earn 10 wins, 24 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes on the way to that season's NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. The team's 824-point margin of victory is a series record.

- Chris Heroy has been named crew chief of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet with driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Heroy takes over the role effective immediately in preparation for the 2012 season. Heroy joins Earnhardt Ganassi Racing from Hendrick Motorsports where he began in 2004, most recently as lead engineer on the No. 5 car for six of the previous seven years.

- The Michael Waltrip Racing car driven by Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip next season will carry the No. 55.  Waltrip has campaigned with the number in recent years, and it also commemorates the year (1955) sponsor Aaron’s was founded. The car previously was No. 00 with David Reutimann as the driver.

- Drew Blickensderfer is the new crew chief for the No. 31 Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team with driver Jeff Burton for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Luke Lambert, interim crew chief during the latter part of the 2011 season for the No. 31 team, will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR. Blickensderfer begins his RCR career after nearly a decade with Roush Fenway Racing.

- The No. 30 Inception Motorsports team and driver David Stremme, plans to run all the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races but the two road course races [Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Sponsorship info will be released at a later date.

- Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. voted the Sprint Cup Series driver the NASCAR® National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers Most Popular Driver for the ninth straight year. He earned the award after receiving the most online fan votes among all eligible drivers throughout the 2011 racing season. Fans cast nearly 1.5 million total votes throughout the 2011 campaign.

Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have agreed to multi-year contract extensions on the No. 2 team. In their first season of working together in 2010, Keselowski and Wolfe teamed up to produce six wins and five poles on their way to winning the Nationwide Series championship for Penske Racing. Over the course of the last two seasons, Keselowski and Wolfe have worked together to produce nine wins, six poles, 36 top-five finishes and one NASCAR crown combined across Nationwide and Cup Series competition.

Camping World Truck Series updates:

 - Turner Motorsports announces the addition of Miguel Paludo to their stable of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) drivers for the 2012 season. Paludo is fresh off of his first full year in the NCWTS where he scored a career-high three top-five and seven top-10 finishes, closing out the season 17th in the series point standings. He joins a stable of drivers including James Buescher and Nelson Piquet, Jr.

 - ThorSport Racing announced a partnership with Toyota Racing Development, switching from Chevrolet Silverado's to Toyota Tundra's in 2012.  ThorSport Racing currently operates three NCWTS teams - the No. 13 of Johnny Sauter; the No. 88 of Matt Crafton; and the No. 98 of Dakoda Armstrong. The organization will also field the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry during the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

2012 Sprint Cup Lineup - Full-time teams(Tentative)

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

 

1

Jamie McMurray

Bass Pro Shops

Chevr

Earnhardt Ganassi

 

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Dodge

Penske Racing

 

4

??

??

Toyota

Red Bull

 

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance

Chevr

Hendrick

 

6

??

??

Ford

Roush Fenway

 

9

Marcos Ambrose

StanleyTools

Ford

Richard Petty

 

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

Joe Gibbs

 

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

???

Germain Racing

 

14

Tony Stewart

Mobil 1

Chevr

Stewart Haas

 

15

Clint Bowyer

5-Hour Energy

Toyota

Michael Waltrip Racing

 

16

Greg Biffle

3M

Ford

Roush Fenway

 

17

Matt Kenseth

Valvoline

Ford

Roush Fenway

 

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s

Toyota

Joe Gibbs

 

20

Joey Logano

Home Depot

Toyota

Joe Gibbs

 

21

Trevor Bayne

Motorcraft

Ford

Wood Brothers

 

22

Kurt Busch

Shell-Pennzoil/AAA

Dodge

Penske Racing

 

24

Jeff Gordon

AARP/DuPont

Chevr

Hendrick

 

27

Paul Menard

Menard’s

Chevr

Richard Childress

 

29

Kevin Harvick

Budweiser

Chevr

Richard Childress

 

30

David Stremme

??

Chevr

Inception Motorsports

 

31

Jeff Burton

Caterpillar

Chevr

Richard Childress

 

32

??

??

Ford

FAS Lane Racing

 

33

Austin Dillon

??

Chevr

Richard Childress

 

34

??

TacoBell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

 

36

Dave Blaney

??

Chevr

Tommy Baldwin Racing

 

37

Josh Wise

??

Ford

Gunselman Motorsports

 

38

??

Long John Silver’s

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

 

39

Ryan Newman

U.S.Army

Chevr

Stewart Haas

 

42

Juan Pablo Montoya

Target

Chevr

Earnhardt Ganassi

 

43

AJ Allmendinger

Best Buy

Ford

Richard Petty

 

46

??

??

Ford

Whitney Motorsports

 

47

Bobby Labonte

Little Debbies

Toyota

JTG Daugherty

 

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s

Chevr

Hendrick

 

51

??

??

Chevr

PhoenixRacing

 

55

Mark Martin

Aaron’s

Toyota

Michael Waltrip

 

55

Michael Waltrip

Aaron’s

Toyota

Michael Waltrip

 

56

Martin Truex Jr.

NAPA

Toyota

Michael Waltrip

 

71

??

??

Ford

TRG Motorsports

 

78

Regan Smith

Furniture Row

Chevr

Furniture Row Racing

 

83

??

??

Toyota

Red Bull

 

87

Joe Nemechek

??

Toyota

NEMCO Motorsports

 

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DietMountainDew

Chevr

Hendrick

 

99

Carl Edwards

Fastenal

Ford

Roush Fenway

 

 



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



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