Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Looking Ahead - 59 to Daytona

Wednesday, December 28, 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 59 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:

- Tony Stewart was named the 2011 Driver of the Year by a 19-member panel of journalists and broadcasters. The Driver of the Year Foundation presents the award to the driver its panel votes as the best in all of motorsports. Stewart, who won the 2011 Sprint Cup title, got 15 of the 19 votes. He also won the award in 2005, the year he claimed his second Cup title.

- Jason Ratcliff has been named crew chief for Joey Logano's No. 20 team, replacing Greg Zipadelli who is leaving the organization to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing. Ratcliff spent the previous seven years as crew chief for JGR’s No. 18 Nationwide Series team.

- Kellogg's will serve as a primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford for four Sprint Cup races in 2012, teaming its famed Kellogg’s™ Frosted Flakes cereal and Cheez-It®  crackers with perennial championship contender and fan favorite Carl Edwards.

- Greg Zipadelli, who won two Cup Series championships and 34 races in 13 years at Joe Gibbs Racing, negotiated a release from his JGR contract allowing him to join Stewart-Haas Racing as its competition director. This will include working as Danica Patrick's crew chief in her Sprint Cup Series debut in the 2012 Daytona 500.

- Roush Fenway Racing has added primary sponsor Best Buy to its Sprint Cup lineup for 2012. Best Buy will serve as primary sponsor of driver Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team for nine races, and as primary sponsor of teammate Carl Edwards’ No. 99 entry for two races. Best Buy previously sponsored the No. 43 Ford entry of Richard Petty Motorsports and driver AJ Allmendinger.

- Penske Racing has named AJ Allmendinger as the driver of the team’s No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Allmendinger, who has competed in the Cup Series since 2007, is coming off a strong season that saw him finish 15th in the series standings while battling for a position in the Chase for the Championship.

- Kurt Busch will drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet Impala in 2012, and his first race will be the non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway where he is the defending winner. The 33-year-old Busch has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup six times since the inception of the Chase in 2004, when he won the series title. His Sprint Cup championship followed the International Race of Champions (IROC) title he won in 2003.

- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a green AMP Energy paint scheme on the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Martinsville in April and run a slightly different version for three races later in the season.  AMP Energy has been the primary sponsor for the No. 88 since Earnhardt Jr. started driving the car. In 2012, the No. 88's primary sponsors will be Diet Mountain Dew and the Army National Guard.

- Tony Stewart will return to his roots to race an open-wheeled midget car in the 14th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. He entered his black No. 2 Munchkin car for both days of the indoor event on Friday, Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31. He has won a record seven times on the 1/6-mile track but will be appearing at Fort Wayne for the first time since 2008.

Nationwide Series updates:

 - G-Oil, America's first and only API and USDA certified bio-based full synthetic motor oil, announced that it will sponsor driver Tayler Malsam and the TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry team for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series. Malsam got his first laps aboard the #19 G-Oil Toyota during a day-long recent test at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando.

- Jeremy Bullins has been named crew chief of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in the Nationwide Series. Bullins comes from Richard Childress Racing where he served as race engineer for the No. 29 car entry in the Cup Series. He takes over for Todd Gordon, who was promoted to crew chief of the Penske Racing No. 22 Dodge in the NASCAR Cup Series. Brad Keselowski will share the driving duties with Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman in the No. 22 car during 2012.

- Bass Pro Shops will continue its partnership with Richard Childress Racing in 2012, serving as a primary sponsor of both Austin Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Ty Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

- Eric McClure will return to the TriStar organization for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, driving the No. 14 Toyota in all 33 scheduled events. In his first year with TriStar Motorsports, Reynolds Consumer Products, with its Hefty and Reynolds Wrap brands, will continue its relationship with McClure for the seventh consecutive season by serving as primary sponsor in all 33 scheduled events.

Camping World Truck Series updates:

- Peck Motorsports plans to return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2012 with Todd Peck behind the wheel of the No. 96 Arthritis Foundation/Kids Get Arthritis Too Chevrolet Silverado. They plan to compete in 10 to 12 events throughout the year. Keith Wolfe will return as crew chief and general manager for the team.

- Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter will join Eddie Sharp Racing to compete for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with Cale Gale during the 2012 season. Baxter will lead the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado team. He was most recently at Michael Waltrip Racing where he worked with up-and-coming drivers before they reached the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ranks, including David Reutimann, Scott Speed, Trevor Bayne, and Ryan Truex.

- Red Horse Racing has signed an agreement to participate in Joe Gibbs Racing's engine program for its NASCAR Truck Series teams beginning with the 2012 season.

- Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats will be the primary sponsor throughout the year on the No. 3 truck during Ty Dillon's first full season in the series. 

Previously reported Sprint Cup updates (12-14-11):

- Penske Racing reached a mutual agreement with driver Kurt Busch to end its driver/race team relationship.

- 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.

- Mike Ford out as crew chief for Denny Hamlin on Joe Gibbs No. 11 Toyota.

- Darian Grubb, who guided Tony Stewart to an incredible five-win run to the 2011 Sprint Cup Series title, new crew chief for Denny Hamlin.

- Scott Speed joined Leavine Family Racing for a limited 15-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for 2012 in the No. 95 Ford.

 

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/McDonald’s

Chevrolet

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Dodge

Penske Racing

4

??

??

Toyota

Red Bull

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Quaker State

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

6

??

??

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

9

Marcos Ambrose

DeWalt/Stanley Tools

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

???

Germain Racing

14

Tony Stewart

Mobil 1/Office Depot

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/Best Buy

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

18

Kyle Busch

M&M’s/Interstate Batteries

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

20

Joey Logano

Home Depot/Dollar General

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

22

AJ Allmendinger

Shell-Pennzoil/AAA

Dodge

Penske Racing

24

Jeff Gordon

Drive to End Hunger/DuPont

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

27

Paul Menard

Menard’s

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

29

Kevin Harvick

Budweiser/Rheem

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

30

David Stremme

??

Chevrolet

Inception Motorsports

31

Jeff Burton

Caterpillar/Wheaties

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

??

??

Ford

FAS Lane Racing

33

Austin Dillon

??

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

34

??

Taco Bell

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/Tornados/Quicken

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Juan Pablo Montoya

Target

Chevrolet

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

43

??

??

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

46

??

??

Ford

Whitney Motorsports

47

Bobby Labonte

Little Debbies

Toyota

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

51

Kurt Busch

??

Chevrolet

Phoenix Racing

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.

Army National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

99

Carl Edwards

Fastenal/UPS/Kellogg’s/Best Buy

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 Racing

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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