Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Looking Ahead: 73 to Daytona

Wednesday, December 14, 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 73 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:
 - Penske Racing reached a mutual agreement with driver Kurt Busch to end its driver/race team relationship.  The team will evaluate its options for the driver of the No. 22 Sprint Cup Series car in the future while Busch will seek new opportunities with another race team.
- Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief for Clint Bowyer’s No.15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2012.  Pattie joins the team after 18 victories in the Nationwide Series and a Sprint Cup stint at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya. He guided the former open wheel driver to a spot in the Chase in 2009 and a victory at Watkins Glen in 2010.
- Mike Ford, who helped guide Denny Hamlin to 17 NASCAR Cup series wins and six consecutive appearances in the Chase, has been relieved of his duties as crew chief for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team.
- Darian Grubb, who guided Tony Stewart to an incredible five-win run to the 2011 Sprint Cup Series title, has agreed to become crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin. Hamlin nearly won the 2010 title but struggled in 2011 with just one victory and a ninth-place finish in the final standings.
- Scott Speed has joined Leavine Family Racing for a limited 15-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for 2012 in the No. 95 Ford. Speed joins Leavine Family Racing after making 13 Sprint Cup starts with Whitney Motorsports’ in the No. 46 Ford. He competed full-time with Red Bull Racing in 2010; earning two top-10 finishes and leading 21 laps.

Nationwide Series updates: 
 - Brendan Gaughan will compete in 10 races in the 2012 Nationwide Series, driving Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 Chevrolet Impala, and in eight races in the 2012 Camping World Truck Series schedule, driving RCR's No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado. Gaughan is the 2002 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year and competed fulltime in the Nationwide Series in 2009 and 2010, earning one pole and 17 top-10 finishes in 71 career starts.
- Turner Motorsports announced that BRANDT is returning to the multi-car team as primary sponsor of the #31 Chevy driven by championship contender Justin Allgaier. Allgaier finished the 2011 season third in the overall NASCAR Nationwide Series championship point standings, notching one win, six top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes, with the win coming at Chicagoland Speedway, the home track of BRANDT and Allgaier.

Camping World Truck Series updates:
 - Joe Denette Motorsports announced that four- time truck series champion, Ron Hornaday, Jr., will pilot the No. 9 Chevrolet for the 2012 campaign. Hornaday will be joined at JDM with veteran crew chief, Jeff Hensley. Hornaday, a 14-year veteran of the series, has an impressive 51 victories, 27 pole awards, 146 top-five and 208 top-10 finishes on his racing resume.
- Richard Childress Racing driver Tim George Jr. will run 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2012, driving the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado with sponsorship from the Potomac Family Dining Group. George, aNew York,N.Y.native, is fresh off his best ARCA Racing Series run, finishing the 2011 season seventh in the final championship point standings on the strength of his first-career win at Pocono Raceway in June, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.
- Max Gresham, the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, will join Joe Denette Motorsports' Camping World Truck Series line-up for 2012.Greshamwill pilot the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado and contend for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. The 18-year-old captured the 2011 NKNPSE title on the strength of two wins, four poles, nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
- Austin Dillon has been elected to the 2011 All-America Team by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, following a vote by the national motorsports professionals belonging to the organization. The AARWBA elects teams of drivers each year to represent a broad spectrum of professional racing in the United States and Dillon is one of 18 drivers elected to the All-America team in 2011. He became the youngest champion in the NCWTS this season at 21 years, six months and 22 days.
- Richard Childress Racing formed a technical alliance with Eddie Sharp Racing to provide engineering, testing and technical assistance to the team while also receiving support from Chevrolet and ECR Engines. After successfully competing in several NASCAR races for Rheem in 2011, Cale Gale has been signed to drive the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado full time for ESR in 2012. 

Previously reported Sprint Cup updates (12-02-11):
-Shane Wilson new crew chief of No. 29 team with driver Kevin Harvick after three seasons in the same position with Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 team.
- Chris Heroy new crew chief of No. 42 Chevrolet with driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Heroy was at Hendrick Motorsports lead engineer on the No. 5.
- The Michael_Waltrip Racing car driven by Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip will carry the No. 55 (previously was No. 00 with David Reutimann as the driver).
- After a decade at Roush Fenway Racing, Drew Blickensderfer is the new crew chief for the No. 31 team with driver Jeff Burton.
- The No. 30 Inception Motorsports team and driver David Stremme, plans to run all 2012 Cup races but the two road course races (Infineon and Watkins Glen).
- Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. voted the Sprint Cup Series driver the NASCAR® NMPA Myers Brothers Most Popular Driver for the ninth straight year.
- Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have agreed to multi-year contract extensions on the No. 2 team at Penske Racing.

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

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

1

Jamie McMurray

Bass Pro Shops

Chevrolet

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Dodge

Penske Racing

4

??

??

Toyota

Red Bull

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

??

??

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

9

Marcos Ambrose

StanleyTools

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

???

Germain Racing

14

Tony Stewart

Mobil 1

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

15

Clint Bowyer

5-Hour Energy

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

16

Greg Biffle

3M

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

17

Matt Kenseth

Valvoline

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Joey Logano

Home Depot

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

21

Trevor Bayne

Motorcraft

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

22

??

Shell-Pennzoil/AAA

Dodge

Penske Racing

24

Jeff Gordon

AARP/DuPont

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menard’s

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

29

Kevin Harvick

Budweiser

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

30

David Stremme

??

Chevrolet

Inception Motorsports

31

Jeff Burton

Caterpillar

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

??

??

Ford

FAS Lane Racing

33

Austin Dillon

??

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

34

??

TacoBell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

36

Dave Blaney

??

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

37

Josh Wise

??

Ford

Gunselman Motorsports

38

??

Long John Silver’s

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

39

Ryan Newman

U.S.Army

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Juan Pablo Montoya

Target

Chevrolet

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

43

AJ Allmendinger

Best Buy

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

46

??

??

Ford

Whitney Motorsports

47

Bobby Labonte

Little Debbies

Toyota

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

??

??

Chevrolet

PhoenixRacing

55

Mark Martin

Aaron’s

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

55

Michael Waltrip

Aaron’s

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

56

Martin Truex Jr.

NAPA

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

71

??

??

Ford

TRG Motorsports

78

Regan Smith

Furniture Row

Chevrolet

Furniture Row Racing

83

??

??

Toyota

Red Bull

87

Joe Nemechek

??

Toyota

NEMCO Motorsports

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DietMountainDew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

99

Carl Edwards

Fastenal

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

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

Car

Driver

Sponsor

Make

Owner

7

Robby Gordon

Speed Energy Drink

Dodge

RG Motorsports

10

Danica Patrick

GoDaddy.com

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

21

Trevor Bayne

Motorcraft

Ford

Wood Brothers

35

??

??

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

50

T.J. Bell

Green Smoke

Toyota

LTD Powersports

52

??

??

Chevrolet

Jimmy Means Racing

81

Scott Riggs

??

Ford

Whitney Motorsports

95

Scott Speed

??

Ford

Leavine Family Racing





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



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