-January / February 2011 Headlines-
Cassill, Germain Racing Going Full Time-
The number 60 Toyota that failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 is going full time for 2011. However, the car won't be driven by Todd Bodine. Up and coming driver Landon Cassill, who is going for Nationwide Series championship this season, will be driving in the remaining 35 races of the season, including this weekend in Phoenix. No need to worry about sponsorship though, the pair of sponsors who took care of Jeremy Mayfield in 2009 will help sponsor the car. Big Red, one of the nation's fastest growing soft drink brands, and All Sport Body Quencher, another fast growing business that distrubutes sports drinks. These two are expected to sponsor the car for the whole season (Source: Jayski)
Nemechek FINALLY Finds Primary Sponsor for Daytona-
Not too long ago, Nemechek was talking to TRE's own Dominic Aragon, saying that their season would depend on the sponsors. Now, they have some signed up for Daytona. AM FM Energy Resources, a Virginia based alterative energy company, has signed with Nemechek as the primary sponsor for the #87 NEMCO Toyota in the Daytona 500. The company is only in its sixth year in business and already has become a leader in alternative energy. Meanwhile, in the Nationwide Series (the team Nemechek had up in the air for this season) the #87 NEMCO Toyota will be primarily sponsored by DAB Constructors, Incorporated for the DRIVE4COPD 300 the day before the 500. DAB will also be counted as an associate sponsor for the 87 car in the Cup Series.
Why don't we thank these two companies for helping out the small teams!
Hunt Brothers Team with Kevin Harvick-
It was announced that Kevin Harvick will be getting some added help this season for sponsoring his minor league team, and then some. Hunt Brother's Pizza, who last sponsored the 44 of AJ Allmendinger in the Cup Series in 2009, will have primary sponsorship for Kevin Harvick Incorporated's entries in the Nationwide Series, in both the #2 of Elliot Sadler and the #4 of Kevin Harvick, and in Sadler and Harvick's joined ride in the Camping World Truck Series. Also, Hunt Brother's has agreed to become an associate sponsor for Kevin Harvick's Cup ride, driving in the #29 Budweiser Chevy run by Richard Childress Racing, with secondaary decals on Harvick's car and suit. (Source: Jayski)
Sponsors Team with Todd Bodine-
Todd Bodine, the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is going for the trifecta in Speedweeks 2011, and now he has some sponsors to back him up. In an effort to prevent starting and parking for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events, Tire Kingdom has signed on to sponsor all three of Todd Bodine's cars for Germain Racing's entries in all three series. Tire Kingdom, who is one of the leading automotive servicing companies for the TBC Retail Group, will be the primary sponsor for the #30 Toyota Tundra in the NCTWS NexTra Energy Resources 200, the #15 Camry in the NNS DRIVE4COPD 300 (who was rumored to close this season), and Germain Racing's part time secondary #60 Toyota in the Daytona 500, a new addition to Germain Racing's lineup. This sponsorship deal is right now only for the Daytona races, and there is no indication that they will sponsor Germain's primary car, the #13 driven by Casey Mears, when Geico leaves midseason. (Source: Jayski)
FAS Lane Motorsports, Max Q Signs Drivers for Daytona-
Reports are coming in that the newest full time team on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, FAS Lane Motorsports, has decided on their driver lineup. They are going to start 1984 and 1996 champion Terry Labonte in the 32 US Chrome car during Speedweeks, and then driving Truck Series veteran Mike Skinner for what appears to be the remainder of the season. With those two championships under Terry Labonte's belt, this means that he will be able to race regardless of what happens in qualifiers and the Duels thanks to the Past Champion's Provisional, so the remaining field is down to 7 open spots.
Also being reported is the signing of Derricke Cope, but not to a Stratus Racing one-off entry as previously inferred. Cope has been confirmed to drive the 64 Toyota for Max Q Motorsports for the Budweiser Shootout and more than likely the Daytona 500. Cope has a past with owner Larry Gunselman, driving the 64 for one race in 2009, the only start Cope has had in the last 2 years. (Source: Jayski)
Lally to Drive the 71-
Sirius Speedway and Jayski are reporting that Andy Lally will be driving the 71 car for The Racer's Group for at least the Daytona 500. Lally, who will be driving the only car locked in with start and park history behind it, drove 7 races with TRG in 2010 with a best finish of 18th in the Watkins Glen race, as well as being part of the winning GT class car for the Rolex 24. No word on sponsorship. (Source: Jayski, Sirius Speedway)
Frank Stoddard Starting a New Full Time Team-
You may remember a crew chief named Frank Stoddard, who won 14 races as a crew chief for teams such as Bill Davis Racing, MB Sutton Motorsports, and most recently Latitude 43 Motorsports while Boris Said was in the cockpit. Well, reports are saying that he is back in the Sprint Cup World, now as a team owner. Stoddard is planning to field a full time #32 Ford for 2011, including the upcoming Daytona 500. Stoddard however has yet to release the details of the team name, driver, and sponsorship to the public, nor did he test this month at Daytona, so stay tuned. (Sources: Jayski, National Speed Sport News)
NASCAR Chase for the Cup Confirming Changes-
The Chase has been officially given a new seup, effective immediately. The Chase will now have the top ten in points, as it began in 2004, but this time around, it will also include the top 2 in race wins among those not in the top ten. To set as an example, this would mean that the bottom two in the chase coming out of Richmond, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle, would not officially be in by points alone. Since Jamie McMurray was the only one with 2 wins in this wild card group, he would get spot number 11, and Biffle would get the tiebreaker since Ryan Newman, David Reutimann, and Juan Pablo Montoya were the only others with wins, but not as many points.
Penske Gets Some New Sponsorship-
It was announced this week that Penske's two drivers in the Cup Series, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch, will get some added help in the sponsorship.
Kurt Busch, who will drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge, will get some added help from the Grandaddy of NASCAR sponsors, Coca-Cola. The amount of races in which the team sports Coca-Cola on the hood has not yet been specified, but Busch will have the iconic logo on his firesuit and as a part time primary sponsor for the team, along with Busch becoming an endorsing spokesperson for the soda company.
In addition, Kimberly-Clark has paired with Penske for associate sponsorship, and will most likely use their most popular product, Wypall Windshield Wipers as the sponsor. Again, the amount of races in which the team will sport a full scheme, if any, has not been explained, but the company will help both Penske's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series campaigns.
And finally, Ruby Tuesday's has officially announced that they will continue to sponsor Brad Keselowski's Nationwide Series car, also sporting the number 22, for roughly the same amount as last year. There's more in the offer though, as they have agreed to sport their name on the rear deck lid of Keselowski's Sprint Cup car, the blue duece. (Sources: Jayski, Penske Racing Website)
Waltrip's Daytona Ride Confirmed-
Michael Waltrip had posted on his social network pages during the 2010 season a COT version of his classic 15 NAPA Auto Parts car in which he won the Great American Race in 2001 and '03. As rumor began spreading around of this being his Daytona 500 car, he kept quiet, but now he is confirming that the 15 car will be the ride for Waltrip. However, the scheme is different than origionally released, as black surrounds the lower front and sides of the car. Also, Waltrip, as was the situation last year, will have to drive on time in the Duels to make it into the show. (Source: Jayski)
Conway to Drive for NEMCO at Daytona-
Kevin Conway, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, announced this week on the radio that he, with sponsor ExtenZe Men's Health Supplement, will drive for NEMCO Motorsports in the #97 Toyota. NEMCO, owned by Joe Nemechek, had attempted three of the four restrictor plate races in 2010 with a secondary team, driven by 1992 Whelen Modified champ Jeff Fuller. However, they only made one race, the Talladega Chase race, and ended up parking it only 2 laps in. Conway will bring that ROTY title to the Bud Shootout in the car and will compete in speedweeks, and Nemechek is hinting more saying that he would "hope to be able to work out some further details to add some additional races with Conway." (Source: Jayski)
PRISM (I mean, HP Racing) Finally Answering the Uncertainty-
After rumors that PRISM Motorspotrs were shutting down its operations after the 2010 season, The team's owners Phil Parsons and Randy Humphrey have ultimately closed one team and built another, calling it HP Racing. The team, as it did in the last two seasons, will sport the #66 Toyota, but with a few changes. For one, they are bringing back Michael McDowell, who qualified for 17 races in the team former secondary car, only to be fired later in the year after a string of DNFs. Although McDowell finished the season with Whitney Motorsports, he ended up losing the job for next year to JJ Yeley.
Also changing this year is the team's schedule. For the first time since the opening of PRISM in 2009, the 66 will drive as a part time team in 2011, driving for certain in the Daytona 500, races in Bristol, Watkins Glen, and Infineon to name a few. They should be more perpared though, as they have bought a shop in the JTG Racing Facility in Harrisburg, Just outside of Charlotte. Don't get your hopes up too much though, as they have yet to find sponsorship, and this could mean more starting and parking. However, the team has stated that they won't go farther until they find sponsorship, so either they are going for wins, or it's more of the same, just not every week. (Source: Jayski)
More on Steven Wallace-
We are learning more about Steven Wallace's attempt to make the 500. With RWR recieving the owner points from Penske's 77 car to lock himself into the field, the team till run th #77 Toyota for Steven Wallace, with Larry Carter (RWR's General Manager) in the pit box and long time sponsor 5-Hour Energy on the hood as the sponsor, along with RWR's latest sponsor on board, Aspen Dental, which will likely have large associate decals.
Steve won't actually be driving just for a kickstart on a potential ROTY campaign (NOTE: nothing official, this is an inference). His start will actually break a record for his family, as he will be a record fourth driver from the same family to start the 500, breaking the tie the Wallace's shared with the Bodine, Petty, Allison, and Earnhardt families, and this will be the 27th start of a Wallace family member in the last 30 years. (Source: Jayski)
Elliot to Phoenix CONFIRMED-
Phoenix Racing has officially announced that 1988 Winston Cup champion Bill Elliot will drive a limited schedule for the 09 team, about 18 races, including the upcoming Daytona 500. After a long discussion on whether Elliot would return to Wood Brothers next year, and even some denail earlier in the offseason by owner James Finch, the 09 team finally decided on picking up Elliot yesterday (1/17). With this announcement, the team will likely go to a part time schedule for the first time since 2008, thenks to little sponsorship. Nick Harris is expected to be the crew chief.
Dave Blaney to Drive for TBR-
It was announced this week that Dave Blaney will be driving for the 36 car for Tommy Baldwin in 2011. The team is not 100% sure whether they will run the full time schedule, however they are confirming that they will drive at least 16 races. More could come if the team can find sponsorship, but they are certain that they will ride the races at Daytona, Phoenix, Bristol, Martinsville, New Hampshire, Darlington, Infineon, Watkins Glen, and Indianapolis. Baldwin is saying that the team is willing to drive sixteen races without the sponsorship, but it will take a lot more than just start and park funds to cover the whole season next year, unlike what the team was doing for the bulk of the races in its two years of existance. The team will start in the 500 with Blaney driving and Tommy Baldwin as the crew chief, the same setup as it was when Blaney drove for Bill Davis Racing up until 2008.
Tony Stewart in Trouble in Australia-
Tony Stewart ended up in a little trouble at Sidney Speedway recently. He was involved in a physical altercation with Sidney Speedway owner and former driver Brett Morris. Stewart was questioned by police and then arrested. Soon he was released by police. No charges were filed but they're pending further investigation. He was free to fly back to the US today (Sunday).
Source: Jayski's NASCAR Silly Season Site
Sam Hornish Jr.'s Dilemma at Penske-
We have recieved updates about Hornish's future at Penske Racing. After earlier reports that Hornish would not drive in the Nationwide Series, both Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske have confirmed that Hornish will drive at least 10 races in the Naationwide Series, including the DRIVE4COPD 300 a day before the 500.
We also learned for certain that the 77 team for Penske (in which Hornish drove since '08) will not return, and that the owner points will be going to Rusty Wallace's attempt to get his son Steven into his first Cup race(s). Steven Wallace has been driving in NNS full time for his father's team in the 66 car, but has not completely said the details for RWR's plans to try for the Cup Series. Wallace finished 10th in the NNS points last season, and with the announcement, this confirms that the first ever Sprint Cup starts for Steven Wallace will be from this year's Daytona 500 to Auto Club 400. (Source: Jayski)
NASCAR Shrinking the Restrictor Plate-
We are now learning that NASCAR is expected to downsize the restrictor plates for the Daytona 500. After growing the length last year to create speeds of up to 191 miles per hour in qualifiers, the highest since Dale Jarrett won the pole in 2000, NASCAR is apparently deciding that the speeds are too high with the new pavement at the track. The testing last month showed speeds up to 197 mph, which would be the highest since Bill Elliot's qualifying record of 210 mph in 1987. The plates are expected to shrink a 32nd of an inch, from 30/32" to 29/32" to lower the speed and power of the veichles. (Source: Jayski)
Mark Martin Running Limited Schedule with Turner-
It has been announced that Mark Martin, current driver of the #5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, will head back to the series he once ruled, the Nationwide Series. Turner Motorsports has officially announced that Martin will drive the 32 car sponsored by Dollar General in the races at four tracks: Kentucky, Michigan, Las Vegas, and Auto Club, and also in the Camping world Truck Series, driving the #32 Dollar General Silverado in the Pocono and Michigan races. With Martin's 48 career NNS Series wins, he's the most decorated NNS driver in its history, but Kyle Busch has dominated the series and is 5 away from that title, something he will most likely do this season considering he had 13 wins last year. Reed orenson, as expected, will drive the rest of the races in the 32. (Source: Jayski)
Lucas Oil in, Raysbestos Out-
2 changes were announced this week involving sponsorship of events and tracks:
The first big change is the renaming of the Indianapolis Raceway Park, the track which holds events for ARCA and the two minor leagues of NASCAR's Big Three. Lucas Oil, the company who sponsors the home stadium for the Indianapolis Colts, has agreed to take the sponsorship of the smaller of the two Indy tracks in the NASCAR big three circuit. Now, the track is no longer O'Reily Raceway Park , but Lucas Oil Raceway. Although the payment of the deal with NHRA, the official owners of the track, were not reported, the oil & grease company with owner Forrest Lucas now has three tracks with their names on it, the other two being in Missouri and California.
Now, for the bad news. Raysbestos, who sponsors the Rookie of the Year campaign in all three NASCAR series may be scaling back next year. We are not sure of what the details are, but after one rookie, Kevin Conway, who went 35th in the points and still got the ROTY backing, and no full time rookies signed for next year, it seems pretty obvious that Raysbestos has no choice. Nothing has been officially released by either NASCAR nor Raysbestos, so nothing is final. (Source: Jayski)
Double or Nothing? Not on Our Watch: NASCAR Moves to end Double Dippers-
It wwas officially announced this week that drivers will no longer be allowed to drive full time in multpile series, meaning that there will no longer be Cup regulars like Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch winning the NNS Championship. However, there is a catch. A driver who is focused on the Nationwide or Truck Series, like Todd Bodine or Justin Allgaier, could have the same affect happen to them if they try the Cup races. The biggest team with a dilemma: Trevor Bayne. He is expected to run the WBR car in an effort to get to the top 35 in points, but since he is going to ride with Rouch-Fenway in the Nationwide Series, that brings up the question...
According to Nationwide Series driver Kenny Wallace had a new part of the competition, membership & license application for the 2011 NASCAR season. The rumor is that Wallace's application apparently said the following:
"A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one." (Source: Jayski.com)"
A spokesperson for NASCAR, Kerry Tharp did not answer any questions on the matter, but said that everything will be explained on the 21st during the Daytona tests. (Source: Jayski)
Ladies and Gentleman: The Newest Team in the Cup Series-
Texas natives Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton are the latest men to pair up and put their money where their mouth is and create a Cup team. Leavine-Fenton Racing have announced that they will be competing in the Sprint Cup Series and the Camping World Truck Series in 2011. They have some pretty decent names behind them, with driver David Starr, who last attempted a Cup race in 2009 for Trevor Boys (DNQed each of them), and crew chief Wally Rogers, who was a detainee from Richard Petty Motorsports' firing of half the team (Rogers worked with Sadler and the 19 team until July). As for the cars themselves, they will likely be Fords with the number 95 for both series and Rousch / Yates engines. Lance Fenton actually began last year in the Camping World Truck Series, and are expected to attempt most of the races in the Truck Series. Leavine-Fenton have confirmed that they will ride the Charlotte, Texas, Chicagoland and Kentucky races, but no word on any others, including the 500.
UPDATE: Bayne to Drive First 5-
We are now learning more about Wood Brothers Racing's schedule. It has offocially been announced that WBR will run the first five races as given by the lock in from RPM's 19 team. If the team continues to stay in the top 35, that's when the questions start to come in. The balance of Bayne's race plans are unknown, as well as Bill Elliot's situation. Elliot may run the 09 for James Finch, but nothing has been finalized.
Jennifer Jo Cobb Getting a "Second Chance"-
Yes, that is supposed to be a pon... :P All jokes aside though, Truck Series regular Jenifer Jo Cobb, who was dead last in the NNS Daytona Night Race last year, has signed with 2nd Chance Motorsports for the first five races of the 2011 Nationwide Season. She will drive the #79 Mustang and according to the Facebook post from 2nd Chance owner Rick Russell that announced this contract, there will be Rousch Yates chassis under the hood as expected. Cobb will be doing double duty, taking her Truck Series crew chief Steve Kuykendall along with her. The bad news? they still have very few sponsors, so it is epected for them to fall similar to Keyed-Up's situation in the Cup last year. After the first five, they will likely close, unless they can snag some sponsorship. (Source: Jayski)
Update on TriStar-
After Front Row Motorsports disbandoned its Nationwide Series collaboration, TriStar Motorsports is now under new management. Rick Carpenter is the new GM, and now the TSM cars are looking to be muuch different than last year, when Long John Silver's dominated the sponsorship (of course barely anything was profited since FRM management had stock in the seafood chain). This season, there will be three cars driving in the TSM garage, with Eric McClure (transactioning from Team Rensi) driving the number 14. Plus, as previously announced, McClure's car will be sponsored by Hefty, who went with McClure on the move from Rensi to TriStar. The other two cars will have number 19 and 44 (which is raising my eyebrows considering RPM had those numbers in the Cup Series not too long ago...). Those drivers and sponsors however, have not yet been announced. (Source: Jayski)
Update on Wood Brothers-
Wood Brothers, although the rumor was that they were going to full time competition, is planning on getting into up to 17 races in 2011, compared to the usual 14 from the last two years. Also, Trevor bayne and Bill Elliot are expected to share the ride now, which could prop up the sponsorship levels if Bayne's potential sponsors at Rousch's Nationwide team in which he will drive next year. Motorcraft is expected to return as the main sponsor and Ford will be the manufacturer. No word on the distribution of races between the two drivers. (Source: Jayski)
Ray Evernham becomes Hendrick Consultant-
Back in 1995, Ray Evernham became crew chief for Jeff Gordon, who was desperately trying to make some hay in the NASCAR community after Earnhardt recieved yet another Winston Cup. What happened for the next four years was all in all, amazing. Evernham and Gordon went on to win three championships in four years, a feat that will likely bring Gordon to the Hall of Fame. Now, Evernham is back in the almighty Hendrick cabinet. After taking a racing team personnel hiatus following Kahne's move from his closing team to RPM, he has now been signed with Rick Hendrick to become the consultant for Hendrick companies like the Hendrick Cars sponsor seen on Mark Matin and Jan Magnussens' cars this year. The downside: this job does not have to do with the racing side of the company. This has to do with the retail and marketing of the car parts that Hendrick's company is selling. No word if Evernham will continue to work in the ESPN / ABC telecasts of the races. (Source: Yahoo! Sports)
Aspen Dental to Sponsor the 66 in the NNS Daytona-
Aspen Dental will sponsor the 66 car for his son, Steve in the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 @ Daytona. The advertisements have been released with team owner and former NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace endorsing Aspen. (No Source; saw the ad :P)
Junior Johnson Giving it Another go-
NASCAR legend Junior Johnson is at it again. JJR's executive VP and general manager announced that he will take another try at owning a team so he can give his son Robert a team to drive in. He is planning to start this season, driving in the K&N Pro Series East and the West finale, as well as many races in the Whelen All-American Late Models and the UARA late model series in which Johnson got fourth in the championship last year. The team is hoping that they can get the sponsorship and the talented driver in Junior's son to make it back to the Cup Series for the first time in years. (Source: Yahoo! Sports)