Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Looking Ahead - 48 to Daytona

Sunday, January 08, 2012


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 48 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:

- Tommy Baldwin Racing added David Reutimann to the team’s 2012 driver lineup alongside Dave Blaney. Still seeking sponsorship for both Reutimann and Blaney, details regarding car number, sponsors and team members will follow in the upcoming weeks.

- Robert Richardson Jr. will return to the seat for a limited NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. R3 Motorsports has also purchased a fleet of Sprint Cup Chevy's from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to enter all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races for the 2012 season. Richardson will attempt to qualify for his third Daytona 500 and a few other Cup races as well. Greg Conner will be the crew chief and the team will run the #23 in both series.

- Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Aric Almirola will drive the legendary No. 43 Ford Fusion in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2012. Almirola has made 35 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, his most recent stint coming in 2010 when he finished the last five races of the season in the No. 9 Ford. Almirola drove a JR Motorsports entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 and capped off a successful season with a fourth-place finish in the championship point standings.

- Trevor Bayne is signed up for 2012 in the Wood Brothers No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. Bayne delivered the Woods their fifth Daytona 500 triumph in just his second start in the No. 21 Ford Fusion and said he’s pleased to be putting any off-season uncertainty behind him.

- GEICO agreed to a sponsorship extension that will see the Gecko adorning the hood of Casey Mears’ No. 13 Germain Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry through at least the 2014 season. The team switched to Fords and will have Roush-Yates FR9 engines beginning with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test at Daytona on January 12th.

- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the 2011 Nationwide Series title, will compete in the 2012 Daytona 500 in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 car. The team does not expect to run the unsponsored car for the full season but is locked into the first five races based on owners’ points from 2011 when the car was driven by David Ragan. The only race confirmed for now is the Daytona 500. Stenhouse has competed in one Cup race, last year’s Coca-Cola 600, where he finished 11th.

Nationwide Series updates:

 - Randy Hill Racing announced the contract extension of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Casey Roderick. The team hopes to contend for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship in 2012. The team has also purchased another Ford Mustang from Roush-Fenway Racing and that automobile will be utilized for the 2012 season.

- Kasey Kahne will be behind the wheel of the No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet in 2012 to compete in 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series events. Up and coming driver, Brad Sweet, who has competed on a limited basis in the truck series for the last two years and in the USAC Sprint Car Series and World of Outlaws Series for Kasey Kahne Racing for the last four seasons, will make a run for the Rookie of the Year title and will round out the balance of the 33-race NNS schedule when Kahne is not behind the wheel.

- Cole Whitt has been tabbed to drive JR Motorsports' No. 88 Chevrolet in 2012. Whitt will also compete for Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year honors. He comes to JRM from the Camping World Truck Series, where he finished 9th in last year’s standings with one pole, two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

- ML Racing announced that Johanna Long will drive the No. 70 Biomet Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet for the 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series. Long began her NASCAR career in 2011, driving a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck Series for Panhandle Motorsports. She will be competing for Rookie of the Year in 2012.

- JR Motorsports has hired Bruce Cook as crew chief for the No. 5 Nationwide Series team, which will run primarily with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in select races. Cook comes to JRM from Kevin Harvick, Inc., where he served as crew chief in 2011 in the Camping World Truck Series, for the No. 2 KHI Chevrolet, which won the owner's championship.

- Rusty Wallace Racing announced the team’s on-track activities will be put on temporary hiatus. The team is currently assisting No. 66 driver, Steve Wallace, in exploring several exciting opportunities for 2012, with backing from his current RWR sponsors. No. 62 driver, Michael Annett has been released from the team and will pursue other 2012 opportunities with his longtime family sponsor, Pilot Flying J.

- Go Green Racing announces Joey Gase as driver of the No. 39 Ford for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series and contender for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. In his Nationwide début last year at Iowa Speedway, Gase battled to a top-twenty finish after running strong the entire race.

- Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that Mark Martin will drive the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas in March. While Martin is only currently scheduled to race in Las Vegas for JGR, the team is still working on opportunities for the veteran driver to secure additional races. He currently has 49 career victories in 235 Nationwide Series starts, His most recent victory came just last season when he piloted the No. 32 car to victory lane in Las Vegas.

 - Viva Motorsports announce the hiring of veteran crew chief Jason Miller for the Nationwide Series 2012 season. With backing from Viva Auto Group, the team plans to support driver Jamie Dick in twelve to fifteen Nationwide Series races in 2012. Miller was crew chief for David Starr in the NCWTS for the past three years, finishing in the top thirteen in points each year with a best finish of 9th in 2009 and 2010.

Camping World Truck Series updates:

- CollegeComplete.com will continue its sponsorship of former ARCA Racing Series champion Justin Lofton for the full 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Since coming together and making the mid-season shift to Chevrolet the No.6 CollegeComplete.com Silverado came through with two top-10 finishes and seven top-15 finishes.

- The University of Northwestern Ohio will be a major associate sponsor partner of Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado in Ty Dillon's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie season in 2012. Dillon, 19, takes the next step in his motorsports career after earning the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship.

- Less than a week after announcing a new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride with Tommy Baldwin Racing, David Reutimann now has a seat on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Reutimann has signed to run 13-15 races on the 2012 Camping World Truck Series for RBR Enterprises in the No. 92 Chevrolet Silverado. Jason Overstreet -- who worked with Reutimann when he won the 2004 Truck Series Rookie of the Year title with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, will serve as crew chief.

Previously reported Sprint Cup updates (12-28-11):
-Tony Stewart was named the 2011 Driver of the Year by receiving 15 votes from a 19-member panel of journalists and broadcasters. 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. 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a green AMP Energy paint scheme on the No. 88 at Martinsville in April and run a slightly different version for three races later in the season.  In 2012, the No. 88's primary sponsors will be Diet Mountain Dew and the Army National Guard.
- Tony Stewart returns to his roots to race an open-wheeled midget car in the Rumble in Fort Wayne at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center Dec. 30 and 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.

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

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance/Quaker State

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

9

Marcos Ambrose

DeWalt/Stanley Tools

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx

Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

Ford

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

23

Robert Richardson Jr.

??

Chevrolet

R3 Motorsports

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

35

David Reutimann

??

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

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

Aric Almirola

??

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

78

Regan Smith

Furniture Row

Chevrolet

Furniture Row Racing

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

6

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

??

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

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

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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