NASCAR: Silly Season Isn’t Over With Yet
Yes, we are aware of what 90 percent of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field is going to look like, but how about the other 10 percent? There are still a few announcements that we are waiting on and there are question marks regarding the futures of some drivers. We will see many more announcements coming after the first of January and before preseason testing commences at Daytona on January, 9.
Swan Racing announced in December that they would field two cars in 2014 and that two rookies would pilot them. We still don’t know the numbers for the two cars, although we can assume that one will feature Swan Racing’s No. 30. We also aren’t sure who will serve as crew chief for both cars. Steve Lane has 13 years of experience under his belt and has been with the team since their first race so he’ll most likely be on top of the pit box for one of these rookies.
BK Racing’s 2014 driver lineup is still a big unknown and rumors suggest that Alex Bowman may take the seat of either David Reutimann or Travis Kvapil. He did test for the team at Charlotte this past month. Also, the merger between FAS Lane and Go Green Racing has prompted rumors that fourth generation racer Jeffrey Earnhardt may make his Sprint Cup debut in 2014, driving the No. 32 car on a part-time basis. Rumors also have Jeffrey connected to Brian Keselowski’s race team; he is the older brother of 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.
Phoenix Racing is still working on sponsorship for their cars and a crew chief for their second team. They recently announced that 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte will run a limited schedule for them in 2014; a schedule that includes the Daytona 500. His crew chief and number have yet to be released. His teammate and driver of the team’s main car (No. 51) hasn’t been announced yet but it’s all but certain that Justin Allgaier will be the man behind the wheel. The team has alluded to it on multiple occasions and the delay is most likely due to ongoing sponsorship negotiations.
Front Row Motorsports will field three cars in 2014 but their No. 35 Ford Fusion will have a new driver behind the wheel. Josh Wise left the team to pursue an opportunity with Phil Parson’s organization and FRM officials stated that they plan to use multiple drivers in that car in 2014. Who said drivers may end up being remains a mystery.
Tommy Baldwin Racing has picked rookie Michael Annett to replace veteran racer Dave Blaney in the No. 7 but they have yet to confirm J.J. Yeley as the driver for their second car. There haven’t been any rumblings regarding Yeley possibly looking elsewhere though and I expect him to stay put. There are a few other part-time rides that are still sorting out their driver lineups and include Penske Racing’s No.12, Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 81 as well as some other single car operations.
These silly season questions and more will all be answered in the coming weeks and who knows, we may even get a surprise announcement come out of left field. We’ve seen brand new teams pop out of nowhere late in the off-season before and other teams suddenly make personnel changes so keep your eyes open.
Nick DeGroot is a staff writer for Rant Sports NASCAR. Connect with him on Twitter @ndegroot89