Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

print article archives RSS

Looking Ahead - 35 to Daytona

Saturday, January 21, 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 35 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:

- Kevin Buckler has suspended operations of his No. 71 Ford, which carried Andy Lally to series' Rookie of the Year honors. TRG Motorsports made 106 starts from 2009-11 and scored two top-10 finishes. "I want to be in Cup, but I want to be there with a proper program," Buckler said. He said he's putting his NASCAR aspirations "on hold" but hopes to return when he collects the right firepower.

- Belkin announced a partnership with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, the team behind Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet. Belkin’s new logo and brand identity will adorn the car for the duration of the 2012 season, but take center stage as the primary sponsor during the race at Martinsville, Virginia on April 1.

- Martin Truex Jr. and new Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin tested at New Smyrna Speedway Jan. 10-11. The team then moved to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for NASCAR’s Preseason Thunder that included testing Jan. 12-14 in preparation for the Daytona 500.

- TAG Heuer Eyewear will be primary sponsor on Kurt Busch’s No. 51 Chevrolet for the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, where Busch is the defending winner. TAG Heuer Eyewear will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 51 for the Daytona 500 and again on March 11 for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch’s hometown track.

- Smithfield Foods to sponsor Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Ford Fusion in fifteen Cup events in 2012, including the Daytona 500. Smithfield brands include Farmland®, Eckrich® and Curly’s®, among others, as well as Helping Hungry Homes™, one of Smithfield’s premier community-outreach brands.

- Front Row Motorsports added David Ragan to drive the No. 34 Ford Fusion. Ragan joins Front Row after completing a 2011 season that delivered his first Cup win (Daytona in July), two poles, and four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. His No. 34 team is locked in to the starting line-up entering the 2012 season.

- David Gilliland returns to the Front Row Motorsports No. 38, the number he drove as a Sprint Cup rookie as well as the car he drove in his first season with Front Row. The No. 38 team is also locked in to the field entering 2012.

- Robby Gordon escaped injury despite flipping his Hummer on Saturday, Jan. 14, and then won the final 18-mile stage Sunday in Peru to finish fifth overall in the event. The race consisted of 5,052 miles over 13 timed stages throughout Argentina, Chile and Peru through a two-week period. Gordon, who owns his own Dakar entry just as he does in Sprint Cup, won three of the individual stages.

- Denny Hamlin picks up Sport Clips Haircuts sponsorship for Darlington race on his No. 11 Toyota. Sports Clip will also sponsor seven Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 and No. 20 Toyotas with drivers Hamlin and Joey Logano.

- Paul Andrews, a former Cup Series Champion Crew Chief, will lead the No. 19 Go Green Racing Ford in the NSCS beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16th. Bristol will also mark the first Cup attempt for his son, Tim Andrews. Following Bristol, they plan on an additional ten NSCS races. Tim is also scheduled to compete in select Nationwide races in the No. 37 Go Green Racing Ford Mustang.

Nationwide Series updates:

 - In addition to running the full Cup Series schedule with Phoenix Racing, Kurt Busch will drive their No. 1 Chevrolet in a limited Nationwide Series schedule starting at Daytona. The team plans on running all major events and are looking for sponsorship for these races. Phoenix Racing ran its first NNS race in 1989 and has collected 12 wins, 61 top fives and 150 top 10 finishes in the NNS.

- AdvancePierre™ will be primary sponsor for three races with two of Richard Childress Racing's Nationwide Series teams in 2012. The Drive Thru™ Sandwich brand will be primary sponsor of Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway (March 24). Fast Fixin'® brand will adorn the No. 33 Chevrolet team with Kevin Harvick at Richmond (April 27) and the Barber Foods® brand will be the primary sponsor at the New Hampshire (July 14).

- Mike Shiplett will be crew chief on the No. 38 Great Clips team with driver Kasey Kahne and up-and-comer, Brad Sweet. Shiplett and Kahne were paired together in the NNS (2007) earning two victories. Kahne will be driving the No. 38 for 15 races throughout the year with Sweet stepping in to fill out the balance of the 33 races on the NNS schedule.

- Canadian Andrew Ranger will be on the starting grid for the upcoming Nationwide season's opener at Daytona International Speedway February 25th with the No. 67 Go Canada Racing team. The two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion will also take part in no less than 15 races in both the Nationwide and ARCA Series this season. He will also take part in some NASCAR Canadian Tire Series races with Dave Jacombs Racing.

- Matt Lucas, who has spent the past two seasons as the race engineer for the No. 18 Toyota, replaces Jason Ratcliff as crew chief on the No. 18. Ratcliff was named crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team last month.

- After competing the past seven years for Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide Series, all while running a full Cup Series schedule, Carl Edwards has decided not to run any Nationwide races in 2012. Edwards said. "And as the season goes, if I decide I'm just a nervous ball of energy on Saturdays and I can't function without going and racing then we'll work to try to go (NNS) racing."

- Tommy Baldwin Racing signed Ryan Blaney to compete in the Nationwide Series driving the No. 36 SealWrap Repair Tape Chevrolet in six events (starting on April 27 at Richmond). Blaney will also run six NASCAR K&N Pro Series races in his family-owned DB Racing No. 10. Blaney, son of Cup and TBR driver Dave Blaney, made a combined three starts last season in the NKNPS East and West, winning in his third start and capturing his first NASCAR victory at Phoenix.

- Monster Energy will sponsor Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 54 Camry in the Nationwide Series. Team owner Kyle Busch will share driving with his brother Kurt Busch. Kyle will drive the season-opening race at Daytona and the subsequent four races through California before splitting the balance of the season with Kurt. Mike Beam will be crew chief on the No. 54.

- Michael McDowell says he'll be back in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota in 2012 for five Nationwide races with plans for him to race at Road America, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Iowa twice. On the Sprint Cup side, McDowell says he'll be back full-time with Phil Parsons Racing (formerly HP Racing).

- Morgan Shepherd will be celebrating his 45th season in NASCAR in 2012 with plans to compete for the full season in the Nationwide Series. In 2011 he competed in all 34 events and finished a hard fought 21st in driver points.

- Elliott Sadler will once again be driving the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet. OneMain Financial will continue the sponsorship of the No. 2 at Richard Childress Racing (after the merger with Kevin Harvick Inc.) for a total of 29 Nationwide events during 2012. Luke Lambert has been tapped as crew chief.

- Rick Ware Racing signs Blake Koch to run the full NASCAR Nationwide Schedule in 2012. Koch, who finished only 1 point shy of Timmy Hill in the 2011 Rookie of the Year battle, will be RWR's second full time Nationwide driver. Koch will drive the No. 41 with Timmy driving the No. 15 he ran during his 2011 campaign with Poynt on board as sponsor.

Camping World Truck Series updates:

- Jason Leffler will be primary driver of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Toyota Tundra. He will be behind the wheel for at least 14 races this season, beginning with the season-opening race at Daytona. Dollar General will be primary sponsor for Leffler's 14-race schedule.

- John Wes Townley will compete for 2012 Rookie of the Year honors in the trucks driving RAB Racing’s 09 Toyota Tundra. He will also join teammate Kenny Wallace, driver of the No. 09 Toyota Camry, in some Nationwide Series races.

- New truck team, Level 1 Motorsports, announced Cody Cambensy as its driver for their No. 53 truck starting at Martinsville Speedway in March. Cambensy has one prior start in the Camping World Truck Series. Level 1 Motorsports plans to run as many races possible with Cody in 2012 to prepare for 2013.

Previously reported Sprint Cup updates (01-08-12):

- Tommy Baldwin Racing added David Reutimann to the team’s 2012 driver lineup alongside Dave Blaney. Car number, sponsors and team members will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
- Robert Richardson Jr. will run a limited 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. R3 will run the #23 in both series.
- Aric Almirola will drive the No. 43 Ford in 2012. Almirola drove a JR Motorsports entry in the 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 Ford. Bayne delivered the Woods their fifth Daytona 500 triumph in just his second start in the No. 21 Ford Fusion.
- GEICO agreed to a sponsorship extension on Casey Mears’ No. 13 car through at least the 2014 season. The team switched to Fords and will have Roush-Yates FR9 engines beginning with the Cup test at Daytona on January 12th.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 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.

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/Belkin

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

David Ragan

??

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

David Gilliland

??

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

Smithfield Foods

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

TAG Heuer

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

19

Tim Andrews

??

Ford

Go Green 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



Highest Searched Drivers over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Strategy: Mock Draft Analysis

    Strategy: Mock Draft Analysis
  •  
    WR: S. Watkins or T. Williams?

    WR: S. Watkins or T. Williams?
  •  
    Levitan: Ryan or Foles at QB?

    Levitan: Ryan or Foles at QB?
  •  
    Braxton Miller NFL projection

    Braxton Miller NFL projection
  •  
    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten

    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten
  •  
    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?

    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?
  •  
    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?

    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?
  •  
    Levitan: Murray or Foster?

    Levitan: Murray or Foster?