NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
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2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
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Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Kevin Rutherford · Tuesday December 18, 2012
These days, the brunt of both fan and media attention is focused on the larger, more well-funded teams of NASCAR — and rightfully so. They’re, after all, the organizations that challenge for top-10 finishes each week, let alone wins and championships.
However, those teams only take up about two-thirds of a full 43-car field. The remainder is a mix of fledgling and underfunded organizations, many of which are simply happy with a top-20 finish, while others are lucky to get to run a full race instead of starting and parking.
It’s always interesting to see how this “other side of the garage” fares in a given season. Sometimes ,there’s noticeable improvement, while other instances may see a team decrease in quality or even close shop before year’s end.
This article is a look at those teams from start to finish. How did their seasons fare? Did they even make it to the end of the year? Can we expect improvement in 2013? Note that single-car teams JTG Daugherty Racing and Furniture Row Racing will not be touched on in this article, but most other one-car or lesser-funded efforts will be mentioned — starting with the teams that ran full-time in 2012.
Phoenix Racing (No. 51): Of NASCAR’s smaller organizations, James Finch’s Phoenix Racing stood to gain the most in terms of notoriety and prowess in 2012 following the signing of Kurt Busch. But after just two top-10 finishes and multiple accidents, Busch left the team and was replaced by Regan Smith and A.J. Allmendinger. Phoenix didn’t have a poor season, but there didn’t seem to be much progress made aside from being able to run every race without parking. The real test in 2013, if they’re still around, will be for the team to replicate the results Busch was able to give them — or would have given them had he not been involved in accidents or had parts failures. Rumor has it AJ Allmendinger is in the running for this ride but no final decision has been made; sources do expect the organization to return.
BK Racing (Nos. 73, 83, 93): Rising from the ashes of the old Red Bull Racing team, BK Racing fielded two full-time rides for Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil in 2012 while receiving some amount of funding from Burger King via one of the owners’ status as a restaurant franchisee. Of all the new NASCAR teams, they were the most impressive, with Cassill in particular rattling off four straight top-20 finishes around midseason and Kvapil scoring the team’s first top 10 in the form of an eighth at the fall Talladega event. Assuming all is constant in 2013, expect both cars to move from calling 25th-place finishes a good day to competing for 20th or higher regularly.
Germain Racing (No. 13): After fielding Truck Series teams full-time for many years, Germain Racing turned its focus solely to the Cup Series in 2012 with Casey Mears receiving increased financial backing from GEICO. The increased focus on the Cup team showed, with the No. 13 moving from a sub-30th organization to generally finishing 25th or higher. The team even scored a pole position at the Bristol night race. Germain may never have the resources or expertise of NASCAR’s larger organizations, but the team has made great strides, especially considering their days with Max Papis behind the wheel.
Front Row Motorsports (Nos. 26, 34, 38): As they seem to every season, Front Row Motorsports picked up the pace just a little bit more in 2012, though the improvement was slight. Many expected the team to have its best season yet with David Ragan behind the wheel of the No. 34, but Ragan only managed a fourth and a seventh as top-10 finishes in 2012, both at Talladega. David Gilliland, meanwhile, was unable to score a top-10 result all year, and Josh Wise was resigned to parking most of the season. Still, Gilliland’s average finish rose a position in 2012, nearly equaling Ragan’s (27.3 to 27), which is an improvement — even if it wasn’t too obvious.
Tommy Baldwin Racing (Nos. 10, 36): Tommy Baldwin fielded two cars for the majority of the season for the first time in 2012, with the new No. 10 running races in which Danica Patrick was not entered in her Stewart-Haas mobile in order to keep Patrick locked into the top 35 in owners points. Primary drivers Dave Blaney and David Reutimann kept both cars locked in the show in 2012, but aside from Blaney’s near-win in the Daytona 500 following Juan Pablo Montoya’s altercation with a jet dryer, there was little to smile about. Looking back, it was as if the organization was stretched too thin with two cars. If the team goes back to one full-time Chevy in 2013, with Blaney at the helm expect slightly better showings.
Swan Racing/Inception Motorsports (No. 30): After running a limited schedule in 2011, David Stremme and Inception Motorsports entered all races in 2012, though the road courses were run by Brian Simo and Patrick Long. Stremme was running at the finish of a mere five races, starting and parking throughout the majority of 2012. Prior to the fall Talladega race, the team was bought by Swan Energy, so it’s tough to say where the organization will head in 2013 — particularly, if more full races will be attempted. If they do begin running more, Stremme and co. could become the next Germain Racing. They’ve already shown signs of heading in a fully-funded direction: NASCAR vets Steve Hmiel (Competition Director) and Tony Eury, Jr. (Crew Chief) have been hired in just the last few months.
Nemco Motorsports (Nos. 87, 97): Little changed in 2012 for Joe Nemechek’s Cup effort, which functions primarily as backing for NEMCO’s full-time Nationwide ride. In fact, Nemechek ran only two full races all year in 2012, garnering a best finish of 28th in the season’s first race. Chances are 2013 will be more of the same.
FAS Lane Racing (No. 32): As in 2011, Frank Stoddard’s FAS Lane Racing featured a rotating cast of drivers in 2012 — nine in total, with Ken Schrader’s 13 events with the team being its longest tenure, albeit not in succession. FAS Lane’s strength remains in the team’s consistency; the No. 32 doesn’t park and experiences few DNFs, which kept it in the top 35. However, results aren’t coming yet; restrictor plate tracks tend to be its only strong point, with former Cup champion Terry Labonte driving. Perhaps a more permanent driver would do some good, but the buy-a-ride program has worked well enough so far. That’s what’s expected for 2013, as Schrader is signed for ten events while youngsters with money expect to fill out the rest of the schedule.
Phil Parsons Racing (No. 98): In 2012, the newest iteration of Phil Parsons’ race team ran five full races, parking the rest due to lack of sponsorship. Michael McDowell, the team’s primary driver, topped out at 23rd at Bristol, his best finish of the year. Each season, the team seems to attempt more races than the last, so bank on McDowell running somewhere around 5-7 races in 2013, sponsorship pending.
Circle Sport Racing (No. 33): After Richard Childress stopped fielding his No. 33 each week, he turned the team over to Joe Falk, who owned LJ Racing in the late ’90s. Under Falk’s ownership, Stephen Leicht won Rookie of the Year with the team, though of his 15 races, only five were full events. Circle Sport is reminiscent of Parsons and Inception when it goes the distance, keeping decent pace but finishing multiple laps down most of the time. 2013 will be a telling year to see if Falk keeps the team going and if he decides to run more races — and if Austin Dillon runs a No. 33 for Childress at all in 2013.
R3 Motorsports (No. 23): Like Nemco Motorsports, R3 Motorsports’ Cup effort is primarily to fund its Nationwide program. Robert Richardson did run two races for the team, but crashed out in both, and Scott Riggs parked the race car for the rest of the season. If R3 returns to the series in 2013, it’ll probably be the same setup, with Richardson running restrictor plate tracks.
Leavine Family Racing (No. 95): In its second season, Leavine Family Racing was at the track a lot more, but its ratio of full races to start-and-parks increased on the latter side. Scott Speed ran merely three races start-to-finish for the team, two of which were at the road courses. That said, LFR only missed one race all year, which denotes some improvement. Word is the team will be showing up even more in 2013.
Robinson-Blakeney Racing (No. 49): Robinson Blakeney Racing, the first major Cup effort of longtime Nationwide owner Jay Robinson, started off admirably in 2012 for a new team, making four of the first five races and parking only once with J.J. Yeley. The team continued on through the second Dover race, running seven full races with Yeley and Jason Leffler, before folding. Selling off their equipment at auction this Fall, they’re unlikely to return although Robinson could pop up back in Nationwide in some shape or form.
Humphrey Smith Racing (Nos. 19, 91): Another Nationwide team-funding Cup effort, this time with former Phil Parsons partner Randy Humphrey forming a partnership with Tristar Motorsports owner Mark Smith. The team parked the entire season while Tristar’s Nationwide team ran the majority of its cars without parking. HSR first showed up a first races in in 2012; no word on if the team will be around for all of 2013.
Max Q Motorsports/Rick Ware Racing (No. 37): Larry Gunselman’s team started off the season with the intent of running Timmy Hill for Rookie of the Year honors as a partnership with Rick Ware Racing. Those plans faltered and the team disappeared until the summer, sans Ware and plus an alliance with Tommy Baldwin Racing. The No. 37 proceeded to park every race but Homestead, when J.J. Yeley finished 35th. The Baldwin alliance may help going forward, but it could also hurt both teams if resources are stretched too thin.
Turn One Racing (No. 74): Usually a Truck Series team, Turn One made the leap to Sprint Cup, though the team parked seven races and ran none before disappearing, Truck team and all (though resurfacing in Trucks at Martinsville).
Go Green Racing (No. 79): Like Turn One Racing, Go Green Racing made the jump to Cup in 2012 part-time, though in this case from the Nationwide Series. And like Turn One, the team never ran a full race, parking in six with Kelly Bires, Mike Skinner and Scott Speed while its Nationwide program continued to chug along. The intent with GGR’s Cup program may be similar to that of NEMCO, mostly parking to help fund the lower organization.
Hamilton Means Racing (No. 52): Jimmy Means returned to the Cup Series in 2012 with a new team, but only made one race with Mike Skinner at Darlington, a race in which the team parked. Means’ Nationwide program seems to be getting the largest share of attention, so HMR may go down as a failed attempt at a return to NASCAR’s top division, unless sponsorship can be found.
Robby Gordon Motorsports (No. 7): After attempting the first few races of 2012, Robby Gordon scaled back his Cup schedule drastically, only appearing at Sonoma for the remainder of the year. With his stadium truck series starting up soon, it seems Gordon’s team may be out of the running, save for the possibility of the Daytona 500 in 2013 and perhaps some of the road courses.
Steve Scharr Motorsports (No. 0): This team debuted at Richmond in September with a DNQ. The smallest of the small, they plan to return in 2013 and will be announcing plans soon.
Xxxtreme Motorsports (No. 44): The former Nationwide team made its first race in its first attempt at the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix, though lack of funds relegated driver David Reutimann to parking. They’ll be back next year, and will likely run some full races, at which point their prowess during an event can be better evaluated.
Hillman Racing and RAB Racing (No. 44, No. 09): Both teams, the former a Truck team and the latter in Nationwide, attempted the Daytona 500 and failed to qualify. They never appeared on the Cup circuit again, and the status for both in 2013 for any series remains unclear.
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