Posted on: February 2, 2010 2:48 pm
Front Row has put the finishing touches on deal with Doug Yates that will secure its three teams starting spots in each of the season's first five races. It's quite a tranformation for an organization that operated with only one full-time team a year ago.
The alliance reunites Yates with Front Row drivers Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland, who drove for Yates Racing in 2008.
Press release follows:
Solidifying an ownership alliance with Doug Yates and Yates Racing, Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins announces a name change to the organization. With the addition of Yates, the team will now officially be titled Front Row Motorsports with Yates Racing. Doug Yates will be the listed owner of the No. 37 and No. 38 Ford Fusions, with Bob Jenkins remaining the listed owner of the No. 34 Ford Fusion. The team will remain headquartered in Statesville, N.C.
The alliance secures all three entries into the top 35 in owner points heading into the opening weekend of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. It also reunites Yates with his former drivers David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil.
"There has been a lot of movement this past off-season inside the sport," said Yates. "The opportunity came up with Bob (Jenkins) and to continue in the ownership role. I didn't have to think long about making this decision. Bob is really putting together a strong team this season and has done so over the past few seasons. He's been smart and making all the right moves as an owner. He's capitalized on the changes in the sports landscape and has built a solid team with great factory support and drivers. That's what excited me about making this move."
"I had already learned a lot about Bob and the Front Row team over the past two months with their involvement with Ford Racing and leasing engines from Roush/Yates Engines," continued Yates. "They are a fast-improving team and this move allows me to carry on the Yates Racing legacy created by my father over 20 years ago."
Yates Racing has more than 50 wins, 200 top-five and 400 top-10 finishes in NASCAR's highest level, including a championship in 1999. Gilliland and Kvapil raced under the Yates Racing banner in 2008 and 2009.
"There has been so much that has happened for us in the past two months," said Jenkins. "But, having Doug come on board is a big piece of our puzzle coming together heading into this season. He brings such a family tradition of winning and a lot of confidence to everyone here. His relationships with Ford Racing, Roush/Yates Engines, David and Travis immediately make us a stronger team."
Posted on: February 1, 2010 11:37 am
John Andretti , who drove for Front Row Motorsports in 2009, locking the No. 34 car into the top 35 for the first five races of the season, will be back in the car for the Daytona 500.
NASCAR would not approve rookie Kevin Conway to race in the Daytona 500, forcing Front Row to do a little driver juggling for the season opener.
Andretti will jump into the No. 34, while Travis Kvapil , who will be the primary driver of the 34 car the remainder of the season, is shifting to the 37 car, which is Conway's primary ride.
Front Row also has a third car, the No. 38, which will be driven by Robert Richardson Jr. at the first three restrictor-plate races of the season. David Gilliland is scheduled to drive a majority of the other races in the car.
At the moment, only the No. 34 car is locked into the 500 for Front Row, but the organization is still hoping to work out arrangements with other teams to transfer owner that would lock its other two cars into the race.
Posted on: January 29, 2010 12:54 pm
According to a report on foxsports.com, Furniture Row is set to form a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing:
"While the team may look the same on the outside, eternally we're much stronger," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "One of the assets with the alliance with Richard Childress is our ability to be secure in the top 35.
"During the last quarter, we decided we needed to run the full season. Around May or June, we realized how much it hurt us not to run the full season."
In the offseason, FRR restructured its organization with an eye on expansion in the future. FRR acquired Mark McArdle, the former VP and director of competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, as its competition director and named former Michael Waltrip engineer Ryan Coniam crew chief for the No. 78. Pete Rondeau, who oversaw RPM's research and development program, joined FRR as car chief.
"Our hope is to secure our sponsorship to advance our growth as an organization for the future," Garone added. "We can race on the Furniture Row sponsorship, but it wouldn't allow us to expand to a second car. Our primary goal is to have the No. 78 team run at 100 percent efficiency."
Reading between the lines, it appears the points from RCR's now shuttered 07 will be transferred to the 78 car. It will be up to Regan Smith to keep the car in the top 35.
Furniture Row has been the little team that could since in arrived on the scene in 2006. It ran full seasons from 2006-08 before cutbacks forced them to trim their schedule to 18 events in 2009. Smith, the 2008 Cup rookie of the year when he drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc., has never finished top 10 in 59 career Cup starts.
Furniture Row is based out of Denver, Colo., the only team headquartered west of the Mississippi.
Posted on: January 28, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2010 3:21 pm
From JR Motorsports press release:
Danica Patrick will compete in 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series races with the possibility of 13 in her debut season with JR Motorsports, co-owner and general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The only event uncertain on Patrick’s schedule is the Feb. 13 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet is entered in the event, but its driver will not be determined until after Patrick’s race in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event on Feb. 6. Patrick will compete in the Daytona ARCA race in a JR Motorsports-prepared No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
Beyond Daytona, Patrick’s 2010 campaign is confirmed starting with the Feb. 20 race at Auto Club Speedway and the Feb. 27 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following Vegas, Patrick will take a four-month hiatus to focus on her IndyCar Series responsibilities before returning to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Nationwide Series June 26 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The remainder of her schedule includes Nationwide races at Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).
“I’m thrilled to announce our 2010 Nationwide Series schedule,” said Patrick. “Like I’ve said before, we just want to be smart and calculative about this process. The tracks we’ve selected not only compliment the IndyCar schedule, but will give me quality seat time at a variety of facilities.”
While Patrick’s participation in the Daytona race is to be determined, JR Motorsports will still field two cars for the Nationwide Series season opener. Due to sponsorship reallocation for the upcoming season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet in place of Kelly Bires in what is the first of two scheduled races for the JRM co-owner. Bires will return to the seat of the No. 88 Chevy the following week at Auto Club Speedway and could be called upon to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at Daytona should Patrick not compete in that event.
“We want to give Danica the best opportunity to compete at Daytona, and that includes making sure she is 100 percent comfortable in that driver’s seat,” Kelley Earnhardt said. “The Nationwide race there is perhaps the most competitive race of the year. Once the ARCA race is complete, we will get with Danica and make a decision based on the best interests of her, the team, and our sponsor Go Daddy. I’m extremely pleased with the working relationship between Danica and (crew chief) Tony Eury Jr. They are communicating well and working extremely hard in preparing for this season.”
GoDaddy.com will serve as primary sponsor for 10 of Patrick’s 12 races in the No. 7 Chevrolet in 2010.
Danica Patrick’s 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule
2/13 Daytona International Speedway (TBD)
2/20 Auto Club Speedway
2/27 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
6/26 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
7/9 Chicagoland Speedway
8/14 Michigan International Speedway
9/25 Dover International Speedway
10/9 Auto Club Speedway
10/15 Charlotte Motor Speedway
10/23 Gateway International Raceway
11/6 Texas Motor Speedway
11/13 Phoenix International Speedway
11/20 Homestead-Miami Speedway
Posted on: January 28, 2010 12:20 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2010 12:26 pm
During an interview on Sirius radio's Tradin' Paint show, Robby Gordon said he will probably drive in some races for BAM Racing this season, a scenario I had been specualating about since news of Robby Gordon Motorsports' alliance with BAM.
By the sound of it, the two organizations are basically working as one with Gordon saying there will be at least one RGM or BAM car at every race. But he promises they won't be a start-and-park operation.
Gordon also has plans to build a monster truck and possbily make another run in the Indianpolis 500. So he's going to have quite a full plate.
You can find the full interview HERE .
Posted on: January 28, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2010 12:22 pm
From Penske Racing press release:
Penske Racing driver Parker Kligerman will continue his development in 2010, beginning the NASCAR Nationwide Series season behind the wheel of the No. 42 Dodge for Team 42 Racing.
Kligerman, 19, will compete in at least the first five series races for the Eddie Smith-owned team, with the possibility of entering more events this season.
“We believe Parker has a bright future in NASCAR and, like many young drivers, what he needs most right now is experience,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. “This is a great opportunity for him to continue his development in the Nationwide Series. We are fortunate to be able to align with Eddie’s organization to further develop Parker’s potential.”
In 2009, Kligerman joined Penske Racing’s driver development program. Working with crew chief Chris Carrier in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, Kligerman posted a series-high nine victories last season while finishing a close second in the championship standings. He earned the chance to compete at the Nationwide Series level with the Penske team and won the pole at Kansas Speedway in his team and series debut before he produced a 16th-place finish in the race.
The relationship with the Eddie Smith team began at the 2009 Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway where Kligerman drove the No. 42 Dodge in his second series race and finished in 25th place.
“I am really looking forward to competing in the first five races of the season in the No. 42 Nationwide Series Dodge,” said Kligerman. “It is so important for me to continue to learn and develop at this stage of my career and I’m excited that I can continue to work with Penske Racing and hopefully get off to a strong start in 2010 with Team 42 Racing so we can position ourselves for more races this year.”
Carrier, who brings more than 20 years of experience as a NASCAR crew chief, will continue to call the shots for Kligerman as crew chief for Team 42 Racing.
“Everyone at Team 42 is thrilled to be working with an up-and-coming driver like Parker,” said Eddie Smith, owner of Team 42 Racing. “He has a lot of talent and we will work hard to make sure we get solid results for the team.”
Posted on: January 26, 2010 5:00 pm
Tommy Baldwin will not be the crew chief of his team's No. 36 car this season as Kevin Buskirk will serve in the role with Mike Bliss as driver. The move will allow Baldwin to focus more of his attention on the business operations.
Looking for a job following the sale of Bill Davis Racing, Baldwin opted to start his own team in 2009. He started the season with Scott Riggs as the car's primary driver, but after missing four of the season's first 12 races, the two parties agreed to part ways. Mike Skinner , Patrick Carpentier and Brian Simo were then scheduled to share the driving duties the remainder of the season, but Carpentier had to beg out and the team picked up Michael McDowell .
TBR figured to have some growing pains as it slogged through the 2009 season. The 36 car failed to qualify for 11 of 36 events. For the races it did qualify for, it was mostly a start-and-park operation. Its best finish was 18th in the fall race at Talladega with Robert Richardson (in his only race with the team) behind the wheel. Riggs' best finish in the car was 25th.
According to foxsports.com, Robby Gordon has named Iain Watt crew chief.
Watt, who worked at Gillett Evernham Motorsports (now Richard Petty Motorsports) starting in 2007 and was director of performance engineering prior to the merger with Yates Racing at the end of last season, has an extensive racing background in IndyCar racing and sports cars. "He's ready for this level," Gordon said. "He's been here since the new year. We started talking back in November about this position. Let's let the results speak for themselves." FULL STORY
Of course, how many races Watt actually works as crew chief remains to be seen. With Jim Beam having left as a primary sponsor after last season, Gordon's team faces sponsorship questions. According to previous reports, Gordon had sponsorship for just eight races. But Gordon has also formed an alliance with BAM Racing to provided technical support, race cars and personnel for BAM's 49 car, which doesn't yet have a full-time driver. If additional sponsorship is never found for Gordon's 7 car, perhaps he can fill in at BAM
Posted on: January 26, 2010 4:40 pm
Sponsorship from Miccosukee Indian Gaming in all three of NASCAR's national series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks - could be terminated as a result of an early February vote by the Indian tribe, the Observer and ThatsRacin.com have learned. FULL STORY
CBSSports.com auto racing producer Brian De Los Santos
If the tribe does indeed pull sponsorship, which the report deems as likely, team owner James Finch will feel the pinch the most. He was all set to field the No. 09 car for Aric Almirola in the Cup Series as well as a full-time Nationwide ride for James Buescher .
Miccosukee was also set to sponsor the No. 18 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports, which was hoping to run two trucks in its inaugural season. Reportedly they'll do so even if the tribe leaves, but it's a tough start for the first-year organization. As much as Busch may love to race, if he fails to land another sponsor, he may have second thoughts when it starts to hit him in the pocketbook.