NASCAR Sprint Cup silly season update for 2014

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On Monday, Jeff Burton found a home for 2014 in a part-time role with Michael Waltrip Racing. We haven’t done one of these yet in full for NASCAR Sprint Cup, so here’s a quick recap of who’s going where, who’s set, and what’s still to be determined in the remaining weeks before Daytona testing commences in January. As you can see, the pickings are slim among available remaining rides.

CHEVROLET (17)

  • Hendrick (4): 48-Jimmie Johnson, 24-Jeff Gordon, 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 5-Kasey Kahne
  • Stewart-Haas (4): 14-Tony Stewart, 4-Kevin Harvick, 41-Kurt Busch, 10-Danica Patrick, Mark Martin (test driver until Stewart returns)
  • Childress (3): 31-Ryan Newman, 27-Paul Menard, TBA-Austin Dillon (Not officially announced and number to be determined)
  • Earnhardt Ganassi (2): 1-Jamie McMurray, 42-Kyle Larson
  • Furniture Row (1): 78-Martin Truex Jr.
  • JTG Daugherty (1): 47-AJ Allmendinger, with EGR technical alliance
  • Germain (1): 13-Casey Mears, with ECR engines
  • Baldwin (1): 7-Michael Annett, with ECR engines

FORD (10)

  • Penske (2): 2-Brad Keselowski, 22-Joey Logano
  • Roush Fenway (3): 16-Greg Biffle, 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 99-Carl Edwards
  • Petty (2): 9-Marcos Ambrose, 43-Aric Almirola
  • Front Row (2): 34-David Ragan, 38-David Gilliland
  • Leavine Family (1): 95-Michael McDowell

TOYOTA (6)

  • Gibbs (3): 20-Matt Kenseth, 18-Kyle Busch, 11-Denny Hamlin
  • MWR (2+1 PT): 15-Clint Bowyer, 55-Brian Vickers, 66-Jeff Burton (part-time third car; test driver until Vickers returns), 66-Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500 only)

YET TO BE CONFIRMED

  • The Wood Brothers and Trevor Bayne, with No. 21 Ford, have not announced 2014 plans. Have ran a part-time schedule for several years.
  • Both of BK Racing’s No. 83 and 93 Toyotas are TBD. 2013 drivers were David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil.
  • Turner Scott Motorsports takes over the No. 51 Chevrolet formerly of Phoenix Racing, likely driver to be Justin Allgaier.
  • Joe Nemechek’s own team, No. 87 Toyota, TBD on plans after start-and-parking most in 2013.
  • Swan Racing’s No. 30 could be either Chevrolet or Toyota and seeks a young driver. Cole Whitt, Kevin Swindell and Parker Kligerman all possibilities after driving for the team in 2013.
  • Frank Stoddard’s Fas Lane Racing’s No. 32 Ford unsure of its driver. Ken Schrader retired from Sprint Cup after Homestead, Terry Labonte, Timmy Hill and Boris Said also drove in 2014.
  • Joe Falk’s Circle Sport Racing No. 33 Chevrolet TBD; ran most of 2013 with Landon Cassill. No. 33 was also used by RCR for a fourth car in selected races.
  • Tommy Baldwin’s second car, No. 36 Chevrolet, TBD.

OTHER POTENTIAL POSSIBILITIES

  • Possible third car part-time for Ryan Blaney at Penske Racing
  • Possible third car at Front Row Motorsports, the one vacated by Josh Wise
  • Possible that Phil Parsons Racing continues with its No. 98 Ford, although 2013 driver McDowell left for Leavine Family Racing.

The Callaway Corvette GT3 is coming to America, in PWC

Photo: Callaway Competition USA
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Pirelli World Challenge has been in need of some good news from a car count standpoint early into this offseason, and receives it Monday with confirmation Callaway Competition will bring its GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R Stateside next season.

The withdrawal of the factory Cadillac Racing program after PWC’s season finale in Sonoma in September has opened the door for the factory-blessed Corvette C7 GT3-R to run in North America, because Cadillac’s ATS-V.R has been the lone GT3-spec car under the General Motors awning for the last three seasons, while the Callaway Corvette has raced only internationally.

Reeves Callaway has been on site at the tail end of the PWC season to survey the opportunity and now a deal has been struck for a factory effort to run next year, before the Callaway Corvette program becomes a customer effort in 2019. This follows the same timeline as Acura did with its new NSX GT3 this year to run it as a factory program in 2017 before shifting to customer efforts in 2018.

“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” Callaway said in a release. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?

“For 2018, we will run a Callaway factory team to give us the best chance of continuing the championship record the Corvette has achieved in international competition. For 2019, we will not race against our customers, but provide high-quality support to them in the tradition of other manufacturer customer racing support programs.”

“For several years fans have asked when they would see the Callaway Corvette GT3 run in the Pirelli World Challenge,” added Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge. “The wait is over and we are very pleased to announce the arrival of the Callaway Corvette GT3 for the 2018 season.”

The Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R will be unveiled and both full season drivers announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 7 at the Pirelli World Challenge booth. Following the unveiling event, the car will be on display for the remainder of the trade show. Details of the presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Callaway’s confirmation comes amidst the likely drawdown of potentially nine or 10 cars that raced in PWC’s GT and GTA ranks either all season or most of it in 2017, among at least five manufacturers. That’s not to say those losses can’t be recouped elsewhere on the grid, over the next several months before the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

PWC will hold its annual state of the series and competitor meeting to finalize the next year’s plans at the PRI show as well.