Anthony Ballantoni

Looking Ahead

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Looking Ahead - 22 to Daytona

Friday, February 03, 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 22 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:
- Kenny Wallace, who notched 11 top-ten finishes last year in the Nationwide Series will attempt to make the Daytona 500. American Ethanol will partner with Wallace for the 500, as well as five races in the Nationwide Series.
- Danica Patrick has added the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte to her 2012 Sprint Cup schedule, eliminating any possibility she will run in the Indianapolis 500. Patrick is running a full Nationwide Series schedule at JR Motorsports and part-time Cup schedule for Stewart Haas Racing as she makes the transition from open wheel racing to stock cars.
- Larry Gunselman's MaxQ Motorsports, which ran the No. 37 last season, indicated late in 2011 that the team would run full-time with Josh Wise vying for the 2012 Rookie of the Year. The team still plans to run, but is now considering three or four drivers, including Wise.
- Aspen Dental will be the primary sponsor of Stewart Haas Racing’s No. 39 team with driver Ryan Newman at the July Sprint Cup race at Daytona and the September event at Loudon.  WIX® Filters will be the primary sponsor for Newman at the season kick-off Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Phoenix (March 4), Darlington (May 12) and Michigan (Aug. 19).
- BB&T will serve as primary sponsor for five races on the No. 31 Chevrolet and driver Jeff Burton, retaining its status as official bank of Richard Childress Racing.
- Banana Boat® sun care (Talladega and Daytona) and LiftMaster (New Hampshire) added as sponsors on Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Jamie McMurray.
- Modular construction provider ModSpace will partner with Front Row Motorsports in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for a multi-race primary sponsorship and season-long associate sponsorship of the No. 38 Ford, driven by David Gilliland. The No. 34 Ford, driven by David Ragan, will also carry an associate sponsorship from ModSpace for the full season.
- Newly established Sprint Cup team Robinson-Blakeney Racing has tabbed J.J. Yeley to drive its No. 49 Toyota for the 2012 season. In addition, Yeley will be reunited with crew chief Tony Furr, who has been hired to coordinate and direct the upstart endeavor.
- General Mills and The Kroger Co. partners with Richard Childress Racing and Elliott Sadler on the No. 33 Chevrolet for the Daytona 500. Leading the effort for the No. 33 team will be veteran crew chief Gil Martin,
- Brendan Gaughan will compete at Phoenix, Las Vegas, Bristol and Fontana driving Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet in addition to his previously announced 18-race Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedule with the team.
- AJ Allmendinger put the Michael Shank Racing Ford into victory lane Sunday by capturing the 24-hour race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. Allmendinger has competed for the Shank team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series opener every year since 2006. The two will co-own a car in the IndyCar Series starting with this season.
- Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has entered into a collaborative partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) where TBR will field the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for all 10 of Danica Patrick’s Cup races in 2012. The alliance guarantees a starting spot for Patrick in her Sprint Cup debut – the 54th annual Daytona 500. TBR’s No. 36 car, which finished the 2011 season 33rd in points, becomes the No. 10 for 2012. For the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to drive, David Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 car.
- Inception Motorsports announced today their partnership with Toyota and the engine support of Triad Racing Technologies for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “It is a great boost for our team to have the support of Toyota and Triad engines heading into Daytona and this season,” said David Stremme, driver of the No. 30 Toyota.

Nationwide Series updates:
- Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will drive the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season with American Ethanol serving as the primary sponsor for six races as well as one race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012.
- Travis Pastrana tries to rehab his shattered right ankle. He drove a car in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and tested a Nationwide Series car. He plans to make his Nationwide debut in April at Richmond, a place where he has run in the East Series and also close to his home state of Maryland.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will defend his Nationwide Series title, driving the full 33-race schedule again for Roush Fenway Racing. In addition, he will drive the No. 6 Cup car in the Daytona 500. Stenhouse said that is the only Cup race currently on his schedule.
- Tony Stewart will attempt to win his 7th Nationwide Series race on the high banks of Daytona on Feb. 25. This year Stewart will drive the No. 33 Oreo 100th Anniversary Chevy fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Stewart has won the last four NASCAR Nationwide season openers at Daytona and hopes to add a fifth-straight victory next month.
- Tommy Baldwin Racing expands Nationwide Series program with the addition of Ryan Truex and Bobby Santos, who will split driving duties with Ryan Blaney. Truex will compete at Daytona on February 25. Santos will race at Daytona on July 6. Blaney will run six NNS events with TBR, debuting April 27 at Richmond.
- Road-course specialist Max Papis has been tapped to pilot RCR's No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet at Road America on June 23. In addition to competing at the 14-turn road course, Papis will serve as a driver coach for fellow RCR teammates, assisting in strengthening their road-course racing skills.
- The WURTH GROUP will sponsor the No. 12 Dodge Challenger driven by Sam Hornish, Jr.  in seven races beginning a multi-year partnership with Penske Racing.
- Richard Petty Motorsports formed a new Nationwide Series team with driver Michael Annett and his long-time partner Pilot Flying J. The No. 43 team will be run out of RPM’s Concord, N.C. race shop. Annett has posted 13 top-10 finishes in 105 Nationwide Series starts and drove to a ninth-place finish in the championship points standings last season.
- Snap-on Tools will adorn the No. 22 Dodge driven this season by both former Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski and rising star Parker Kligerman in races at Darlington (May 11), Dover (June 2), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 14) and Richmond (September 7).
- Mike Wallace enters his fourth season driving for JD Motorsports No. 01 Chevrolet, The new addition to the team is veteran crew chief Newt Moore. Davis has 411 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts as an owner. Wallace has 416 NNS starts as a driver. Moore has 408 combined NASCAR starts atop a pit box.
- MAKE Motorsports' No. 50 Chevy will be competing for the Nationwide Series championship with driver T.J. Bell and crew chief Brad Parrott. The team has been participating in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2010 and did a partial NNS season in 2011. Bell has been with the team since 2010 and Parrott since 2011.
- Randy Hill Racing returns to the Nationwide Series with their No. 08 Randy Hill Racing Ford Mustang beginning with the 2012 season-opener, the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona. RHR has joined forces with Go Green Racing under a technical alliance partnership. Casey Roderick, who competed in the 2011 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a joint effort between RHR and GGR, will return to the driving duties of the No. 08 Ford Mustang and hopes to make his inaugural superspeedway start at Daytona.

Camping World Truck Series updates:
- Chris Cockrum has partnered with RSS Racing [Ryan Sieg Racing] to run the No. 93 truck at Daytona and possibly more races. The No. 93 ended 2011 ranked high enough in the points to be locked into the field at Daytona, assuring Cockrum and sponsor Advanced Communications Group (his father's company) a spot in the race.
- Ross Chastain will join SS Green Light Racing to pilot the team’s 08 Toyota Tundra beginning with the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona. He ran five NCWTS races in 2011 finishing 10th in his first ever start at Lucas Oil Raceway. Returning to its familiar No. 08 for the 2012 season, Chastain and the team SS Green Light team are guaranteed a starting spot for the first four races of the campaign. Bryan Berry, longtime crew chief for Brendan Gaughan in both the NCWTS and the Nationwide Series, joins the team.
- Terry “Richie” Snyder has been named crew chief for the No. 24 Made In USA Brand Chevrolet of Max Gresham for the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Snyder got his start working on late models and has a background in racing that spans more than 10 years.
- After a five-year absence from competing in a NASCAR race, Ward Burton will drive at Daytona in February in the NextEra Energy 250 Camping World Truck Series event.  Burton and his 19-year-old son, Jeb, have teamed with Hillman Racing in the Truck Series to run the No. 27 Chevy this season. Ward will race at Daytona because Jeb is not yet qualified to run at Daytona. Burton also will make select starts throughout the truck series schedule. The younger Burton will make his debut behind the wheel in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville on March 31.
- Brad Keselowski announced Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) will conduct an online contest that will provide fans an opportunity to have their Twitter handle featured on the No. 19 BKR RAM that Brad will pilot in the season-opening Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona. The 10 grand prize winners will have their Twitter handles prominently featured on the sides of the truck.
- Former Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine has a sponsor for the season-opening event at Daytona, and said he is optimistic about finding additional funding for the full, 2012 campaign. “I’m with Red Horse Racing (No. 11),” said Bodine on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Tradin’ Paint today. “We’re going to race together if we can find sponsorship.”

Previously reported Sprint Cup updates (01-21-12):
- Kevin Buckler has suspended operations of his TRG Motorsports No. 71 Ford, which carried Andy Lally to series' Rookie of the Year honors.
- Belkin will sponsor Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet as associate sponsor but will be primary sponsor for the race at Martinsville, Virginia on April 1.
- Teammates Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin tested at New Smyrna Speedway Jan. 10-11 then moved to Daytona for NASCAR’s Preseason Thunder that included testing Jan. 12-14 in preparation for the Daytona 500.
- TAG Heuer Eyewear will sponsor Kurt Busch’s No. 51 Chevrolet for the Feb. 18 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, where Busch is the defending winner.
- Smithfield Foods to sponsor Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Ford Fusion in fifteen Cup events in 2012, including the Daytona 500.
- Front Row Motorsports added David Ragan to drive the No. 34 Ford Fusion which locked in to the starting line-up entering the 2012 season.
- David Gilliland returns to Front Row Motorsports No. 38, the number he drove as a Cup rookie as well as the car he drove in his first season with Front Row.
- Robby Gordon escaped injury despite flipping his Hummer on Jan. 14 and then won the final Dakar 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.
- Sport Clips Haircuts sponsors Denny Hamlin at Darlington for his No. 11 Toyota.
- Paul Andrews will crew chief the No. 19 Go Green Racing Ford in the NSCS beginning at Bristol 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.

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/LiftMaster

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

10

Danica Patrick

GoDaddy.com (10 races)

Chevrolet

Stewart  Haas Racing

10

David Reutimann

?? (26 races)

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

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

??

Toyota

Inception Motorsports

31

Jeff Burton

Caterpillar/Wheaties/BB&T

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

32

Ken Schrader

Federated Auto Parts (9 races)

Ford

FAS Lane Racing

34

David Ragan

Taco Bell

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

36

Dave Blaney

??

Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing

37

Josh Wise

??

Ford

Gunselman Motorsports

38

David Gilliland

Long John Silver’s

Ford

Front Row Motorsports

39

Ryan Newman

Army/Tornados/Quicken/Aspen/WIX

Chevrolet

Stewart Haas Racing

42

Juan Pablo Montoya

Target

Chevrolet

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield Foods

Ford

Richard Petty Motorsports

47

Bobby Labonte

Little Debbies/Kroger/Kingsford

Toyota

JTG Daugherty Racing

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

49

J.J. Yeley

??

Toyota

Robinson-Blakeney Racing

51

Kurt Busch

TAG Heuer

Chevrolet

Phoenix Racing

55

Mark Martin

Aaron’s (25 races)

Toyota

Michael_Waltrip Racing

55

Michael Waltrip

Aaron’s (5 races)

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

98

Michael McDowell

Red Line Oil

Ford

Phil Parsons Racing

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

09

Kenny Wallace

American Ethanol

Toyota

RAB Racing

6

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

??

Ford

Roush Fenway Racing

7

Robby Gordon         

Speed Energy Drink

Dodge

RG Motorsports

19

Tim Andrews

?? (10-12 races)

Ford

Go Green Racing

21

Trevor Bayne

Motorcraft (16-18 races)

Ford

Wood Brothers Racing

33

Austin Dillon

American Ethanol

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

33

Brendan Gaughan

South Point Hotel&Casino

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

33

Elliott Sadler

General Mills/Kroger

Chevrolet

Richard Childress Racing

50

T.J. Bell

Green Smoke

Toyota

LTD Powersports

52

??

??

Toyota

Hamilton Means Racing

81

Scott Riggs

??

Ford

Whitney Motorsports

95

Scott Speed

??  (15 races)

Ford

Leavine Family Racing



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



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