More to shoot at The Budweiser
Shootout at Daytona features an
expanded field this year. The top 25
drivers in 2011 points are joined by
winners of any prior Daytona races.
rPM lost both Best Buy and allmendinger, but still plans to field two cars. aJ shifts over to Kurt Busch’s old seat at Penske.
MEN AND MONEY ON THE MOVE
AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch and Best Buy shift NASCAR
positions in a complicated game of gains and losses
A LITTLE SOMETHING
Stewart, former crew
chief give and get at JGR
It figured that Darian Grubb wouldn’t be
on the market long after being
startlingly let go at Stewart-Haas
Racing despite winning the Sprint Cup
with Tony Stewart. Sure enough, Grubb
was quickly snapped up by Joe Gibbs
Racing, where he will attempt to revive
the fortunes of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11
Toyota, which went from title contender
to nowhere in 2011. Grubb replaces
Mike Ford, who had been with Hamlin
since ’06. The pair won eight races
together in 2010, but just one last year.
“When you sit down with Joe and
J.D. Gibbs, you can’t help but be excited
about this opportunity and the team
aspects of JGR,” said Grubb. There is
no question about the level of support
you get here.”
Stewart, meanwhile, tapped his old
digs at Gibbs to fill Grubb’s vacancy.
Greg Zipadelli – Stewart’s crew chief
when he won the Cup with JGR in 2005
– will take over the crew chief role on
the champ’s No. 14 this season.
It looked like being a relatively quiet off-season on the
NASCAR front – but that was before Kurt Busch was
caught on video launching an expletive-laced tirade at
Busch’s loss was AJ Allmendinger’s gain. The former
open-wheeler’s days at Richard Petty Motorsport seemed
numbered after his No. 43’s primary sponsor Best Buy opted out
for 2012. (The electronics retailer has transferred its flag to
Roush Fenway Racing, backing Matt Kenseth for seven races
and Carl Edwards for two). But before his exit became official,
the 30-year-old Allmendinger was
handed an unexpectedly golden
opportunity when Penske offered him
the reigns of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil
Dodge. His place at RPM will be taken by
Aric Almirola, who gets another chance
to establish himself as a Cup racer.
The numbers didn’t add up, but Smoke and Grubb both wound up happy.
Stewart showed the Hendrick cars the way in 2011, but he team’s boss just sees that as an opportunity for his quad to measure its need for improvement.
12 FEBRUARY 2012 racer.com
Hendrick chafes at chasing customers