Slim pickings in NASCAR free agent pool

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We looked at the Formula One and IndyCar free agent pools earlier this week. Meanwhile, most of the NASCAR field is set for 2014 but there’s still a handful of seats remaining, and they’re likely to be filled by a number of mostly journeymen drivers.

  • Dave Blaney (30th in 2013): Cup veteran since 2000. Replaced by Michael Annett at Tommy Baldwin Racing. Not sure if he’d prefer to keep running midpack at best in Cup or run Nationwide and/or Trucks and keep focused on son Ryan’s emerging career.
  • Travis Kvapil (31st): Unfortunately was most noteworthy in 2013 for his legal issue that arose prior to Charlotte, and didn’t do anything with BK Racing that really merits a third season. Rumors are that young Nationwide driver Alex Bowman may test for the team soon.
  • J.J. Yeley (32nd): Like Blaney, doesn’t bring sponsorship to TBR and has sprint cars to race. Whether Baldwin keeps him in the No. 36 remains to be seen.
  • David Reutimann (33rd): Lowest in points of those who drove all 36 races. A veteran hand but can’t be thrilled running 30th every week in his first season with BKR.
  • David Stremme (36th): Bounced by Swan Racing for two youngsters, doubtful if another full-time ride will present itself.
  • Timmy Hill (38th): May take over the No. 32 full-time if Frank Stoddard prefers that to the round-robin of drivers. Only four top-30 finishes in 19 starts doesn’t say much, though.
  • Scott Speed (41st): His career odyssey took him from F1 to NASCAR to Global Rallycross. So whether Speed turns up in NASCAR again after his exit from Leavine Family Racing is yet another question.
  • Justin Allgaier (NR): Phoenix Racing, now Turner Scott Motorsports, has a crew chief for its No. 51 with Steve Addington and a second car for Bobby Labonte at selected races. All it needs to do now is pick a driver for the main car, and Allgaier should be the guy who gets it.
  • A.N. Other Veteran or Rookie: Any of your Ken Schraders, Terry Labontes, or Nationwide regulars who get picked out of the blue either for one race, selected races or a full season. There’s always at least one every year.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”