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Pace Laps: Media Tour Takeaways And NASCAR Sponsors, Good And Bad

*Sprint Cup: Sponsorship Headlines 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour* Last week’s NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway featured several teams and drivers from NASCAR’s top division, and one common thread in discussions was sponsorship. While several teams added new backers, some high-profile ones still have open races just a month before the season begins with the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. Tops on the list is perennial Most Popular Driver award winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who still has up to 13 unsponsored races.

Pace Laps: NASCAR Can Build On This, Open-Wheel Offseason Antics And As The Busch Turns

_Did you see all of the race action this weekend? Or, like a lot of busy fans, did you miss a late-night adventure, a Friday controversy, or a juicy piece of news? If you did, you’ve come to the right place! Each week, The Frontstretch will break down the racing, series by series, to bring you the biggest stories that you need to watch moving forward. Let our experts help you get up to speed for the coming week no matter what series you might have missed, all in this edition of Pace Laps!_

*Sprint Cup: We Can Build On This! NASCAR Unlikely To Make Major Rules Changes After Test* After the three-day Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR and the teams who participated found the 2013 cars successful enough that few, if any changes will be made to the superspeedway package before Speedweeks next month.

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Michael Annett

*2012 Ride:* No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Mustang

*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J (30 races), Northland Oil/1-800-The-Lost (Iowa, August), Old Wisconsin (Atlanta), EFS (Kansas, October)

*2012 Owner:* Richard Petty (listed in the owner points standings as Sandra Turner, due to the team acquiring the 2011 owner points from Turner Motorsports’ No. 32 team)

*2012 Crew Chief:* Philippe Lopez

*Stats:* 33 starts, 0 wins, 6 top 5s, 17 top 10s, 0 poles, 5th in points.

*Best Finish:* 3rd – twice (Daytona – July & Dover – September).
*Average Finish:* 11.2.

*Team Ranking: 1st* of 1. Richard Petty Motorsports fielded only one car in the Nationwide Series in 2012.

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

*2012 Rides:* No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford (NNS and Cup)

*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Kellogg’s, NOS Energy Drink, Ford EcoBoost, Cargill Beef, Sam’s Club, Fastenal, Valvoline, Pure Michigan, Blue Bird

*2012 Owner:* Jack Roush

*2012 Crew Chiefs:* Mike Kelley, Scott Graves (Cup)

*Stats:* 37 combined Cup & Nationwide starts. In Nationwide: 6 wins, 19 top 5s, 26 top 10s, 4 poles.
Nationwide Series champion; 61st in Cup points.

*Best Finish:* 1st (NNS): Las Vegas, Fort Worth, Iowa, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas.
12th (Cup), Dover – Fall.

*Average Finish:* 7.3 (NNS); 26.5 (Cup).

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: David Ragan

*2012 Ride:* No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Scorpion Truck Bed Liners, Scorpion Window Films, Scorpion Coatings, Al’s Liners, Glory Foods, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, Distraction.gov, Client-One Securities, Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, MHP/8-Hour Alert, Green 1, Where’s Waldo, CertainTeed/31-W Insulation, Environmental, Rick Santorum for President

*2012 Owner:* Bob Jenkins
*2012 Crew Chief:* Jay Guy

*Stats:* 36 Races, 0 Wins, 1 Top 5, 2 top 10s, 5 DNFs, 0 poles, 28th in points.
*Best Finish:* 4th (Talladega – October).
*Average Finish:* 27.0.

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: David Reutimann

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*2012 Rides:* No. 10 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet (21 races)
No. 93 BK Racing Toyota (2 races)
No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet (1 race)
No. 44 Xxxtreme Motorsports Ford (1 race)
No. 73 BK Racing Toyota (1 race – DNQ)

*2012 Primary Sponsors:* No. 10 Car – TMone, Accell Construction, Melling Engine Parts, TradeBank, several smaller businesses with additional Stewart-Haas monetary support (for carrying Danica Patrick’s number)

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Paul Menard

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*2012 Ride:* No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Menards (32 races), Quaker State (3 races), Peak Antifreeze (Daytona 500 + Budweiser Shootout)

*2012 Special Hood Sponsors:* Pittsburgh Paints (4 races), CertainTeed (4 races), Duracell (3 races), Sylvania (3 races), Moen (3 races), Schrock (2 races), Libman (2 races), Zecol (2 races), NIBCO (2 races), Serta (2 races), Rheem (2 races), Tarkett (Phoenix, February), Turtle Wax (Talladega, May)

*2012 Owner:* Richard Childress
*2012 Crew Chiefs:* Slugger Labbe (30 races), Shane Wilson (6 races, Richmond-Charlotte)

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Casey Mears

*2012 Ride:* No. 13 Germain Racing Toyota
*2012 Primary Sponsors:* GEICO / Valvoline NextGen (2 races)
*2012 Owner:* Bob Germain
*2012 Crew Chief:* “Bootie” Barker

*Stats:* 36 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, 1 pole (unofficial; based on practice speeds due to rain at Bristol), 11 DNFs, 29th in points.

*Average Start:* 26.4.
*Average Finish:* 27.2.
*Best Finish*: 15th – Sonoma.

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Bobby Labonte

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*2012 Ride:* No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota Camry
*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Kroger / Kingsford / Bush’s Beans / Clorox / Scott Products
*2012 Owners:* Tad Geschickter / Brad Daugherty
*2012 Crew Chiefs:* Todd Berrier (Feb. – July); David Hyder (July – Sept.); Brian Burns (Sept. – Nov.)

*Stats:* 36 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 2 top 10s, 2 DNFs, 23rd in points.

*Best Finish:* 9th, Martinsville – Fall.
*Average Finish:* 22.6.

2012 NASCAR Driver Review: David Gilliland

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*2012 Ride:* No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford
*2012 Primary Sponsors:* Autism Speaks, A&W All-American Food, Big Machine Records Long John Silver’s, 1-800 LoanMart, MHP/Power Pack Pudding, Mod Space, Mossy Oak/Pursuit Channel, Peanut Patch/Margaret Holmes, Taco Bell, Rick Santorum for President
*2012 Owner:* Bob Jenkins
*2012 Crew Chief:* Pat Tryson, Derrick Finley

Evaluating Cup’s Smaller Teams, 2012 Edition

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 …

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The Critic’s Annex 106- Kurt Busch: The Outlaw

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to The Critic’s Annex, where I take an additional opportunity to take a look at some motorsports-related programming. Today’s special Wednesday edition will not be the last Annex of the year. A later edition will cover the recently released sophomore NASCAR effort from Activision and Eutechnyx, NASCAR the Game: Inside …

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