Brian Scott

NASCAR: Entry list set for Sprint Unlimited; David Gilliland out, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the fourth driver to be added to Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited to fill the 25-car field.

Stenhouse is in the race after David Gilliland’s team withdrew. A spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said the team did not have sponsorship for the event and elected to skip it.

Others who were eligible to compete in the 75-lap exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway but won’t are Brian Scott, Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger.

Replacing them are Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Casey Mears and Stenhouse.

NASCAR announced in December it was expanding the Sprint Unlimited field to 25 teams. The event is open to all 16 Chase teams from the previous season along with pole winners from last year, former Unlimited winners and former Daytona 500 winners. Any remaining spots go to the highest remaining drivers in points.

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2015 SPRINT UNLIMITED AT DAYTONA
Entry List

1-Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing/McDonalds)
2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske/Miller Lite)
3-Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing/Dow Chemical)
4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing/Jimmy John’s + Budweiser)
5-Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports/Great Clips)
10-Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing/GoDaddy)
11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing/FedEx Express)
13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing/GEICO)
14-Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing/Mobil 1 + Bass Pro Shops)
15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing/5-Hour Energy)
16-Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing/Ortho)
17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing/Fastenal)
18-Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing/M&Ms)
19-Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing/Arris)
20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing/Dollar General)
22-Joey Logano (Team Penske/Shell-Pennzoil)
24-Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports/AARP Drive to End Hunger)
27-Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing/Peak-Menards)
31-Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing/Caterpillar)
41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing/Haas Automation)
42-Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing/Target)
43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports/Smithfield)
48-Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports/Lowe’s)
78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing/Furniture Row)
88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports/Nationwide Insurance)

NASCAR: Casey Mears to compete in this year’s Sprint Unlimited

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Casey Mears will join the 25-car Sprint Unlimited next week, a team spokesperson confirmed Friday. The Germain Racing driver will be the third competitor to be added to fill the field.

Brian Vickers, Brian Scott and AJ Allmendinger each were eligible for the event but those teams have pulled out. That’s allowed Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard and Mears to join the field.

The 75-lap exhibition race, which will be held Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway, will have an expanded field this season. NASCAR announced in December that all 16 Chase drivers were eligible for the event along with pole winners from last year, former Sprint Unlimited winners, and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014. If any of the 25 spots remain, then those highest in the points not yet eligible would qualify.

Vickers, who won a pole last year, will not compete because he will skip the first two points races of the season as he completes his recovery from off-season corrective heart surgery. Richard Childress Racing confirmed that Scott, who won a pole last year, will not compete.

Tad Geschickter, owner of JTG Daugherty, told MotorsportsTalk that the team did not know it would be eligible to compete in the non-points race until December and was unable to find sponsorship for it. Thus, Allmendinger, eligible because he was in last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, will not compete in this event.

NASCAR: Jay Robinson buys Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 36 team, re-numbers to No. 62

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Under the new banner of Premium Motorsports, Jay Robinson has purchased the assets of the No. 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team from Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Reed Sorenson drove the No. 36 TBR Chevrolet full-time last year and finished 34th in Sprint Cup points. His best result was a 14th in the Chase race at Talladega Superspeedway.

In a short release from this morning, Premium announced that the car would be re-numbered to No. 62 for the upcoming season. Sponsor and driver announcements for the car were noted to be “forth coming.”

However, it has been reported by several outlets that, for the season-opening Daytona 500, the No. 62 will be prepared by Richard Childress Racing and driven by RCR Xfinity Series veteran Brian Scott.

That would create, essentially, a five-car RCR squad for the Great American Race – RCR’s main trio of Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, and Paul Menard, then Scott and his Xfinity teammate, Ty Dillon, in affiliated cars. Ty Dillon is driving the No. 33 for Circle Sport Racing in partnership with RCR.

Catchfence.com and Motorsport.com are also additionally reporting that Slugger Labbe, RCR’s head of research and development, will serve as crew chief for Scott and the No. 62 team during Daytona Speedweeks. Labbe stepped down from his role as crew chief for Menard last October to take his current position.

Scott drove a Circle Sport/RCR machine to 25th in his Daytona 500 debut last year.

NASCAR: Fans to help crew chiefs set Sprint Unlimited starting lineup, pit positions

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Select fans will be paired with each crew chief for a random drawing to determine the starting lineup and pit road positions in NASCAR’s Sprint Unlimited exhibition race on Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR says that fan drawings will be held Feb. 13 at the main stage of the Sprint Fanzone at DIS, starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.

“Anticipation for the start of the NASCAR season is at an all-time high among fans and drivers,” NASCAR executive vice president/chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said in a release. “Fans have a unique opportunity to participate in key elements of the event, making this year’s Sprint Unlimited even more exciting.”

Last year, fans were allowed to vote on the length of the race segments, which was won by Denny Hamlin.

As for this year’s race, NASCAR will use a two-segment format of 25 laps and then 50 laps. A competition caution will be waved at Lap 25.

In December, NASCAR expanded the Unlimited field to include all 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers. The 25-driver field will also include 2014 Sprint Cup pole winners, former Unlimited race winners, and former Daytona 500 pole winners that competed full-time in 2014.

Three eligible competitors – 2014 Chaser A.J. Allmendinger and 2014 Cup pole winners Brian Scott and Brian Vickers – will not compete in the Unlimited for various reasons. Allmendinger and Scott’s teams are not fielding cars for the event, and Vickers is recovering from December heart surgery (he will return to racing at Las Vegas in March).

All open positions for the Unlimited will be filled based on 2014 driver championship points. As of now, the top four provisional drivers respectively are Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Casey Mears, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Team representatives have already confirmed that Bowyer and Menard will compete in the Unlimited.

Allmendinger’s car owner explains why team will skip Sprint Unlimited

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AJ Allmendinger will not compete in next weekend’s Sprint Unlimited because his team was unable to find sponsorship for the exhibition event.

JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter told MotorsportsTalk that NASCAR’s late decision to include all 16 Chase drivers in the Sprint Unlimited left his organization with little time to find a sponsor.

NASCAR announced Dec. 15 it was expanding the field for the Feb. 14 non-points race.

“It was nowhere on our radar until they changed the rules on it,’’ Geschickter said Monday of competing in the Sprint Unlimited. “If we had won a pole during the season and knew we were in it, I’m sure we would have been well prepared for it. We appreciate being grandfathered in, but, obviously, have to manage our resources to deliver the best year-end points finish we can for our sponsors.’’

Allmendinger finished 13th in the points for the team last year, earning a Chase bid with his win at Watkins Glen.

Geschickter said he’s not worried about missing additional track time at Daytona International Speedway by skipping the race. JTG Daugherty enters its second year as part of an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and will be able to get information and notes from other RCR alliance cars in that race.

Geschickter says the team has three superspeedway cars ready for the season.

“Obviously, if you go tear one up before the season starts, that’s a big hit to a budget,’’ Geschickter said.

As for sponsorship this season, Geschickter says the team has only three races to sell. Those races are in the second half of the year.

Also, a Richard Childress Racing spokesperson confirmed that Brian Scott will not compete in the 75-lap Sprint Unlimited. Scott was eligible by winning the pole at Talladega last spring.

Brian Vickers also was eligible but will not compete in the exhibition race. He will miss the first two races of the season as he completes his recovery from offseason corrective heart surgery.

NASCAR stated in December that the Sprint Unlimited would have a minimum 25 cars. The event is open to all Chase drivers from last season, pole winners from last year, former Sprint Unlimited winners, and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014. If any of the 25 spots remain, then those highest in the points not yet eligible would qualify.

NASCAR confirmed that the top four drivers not automatically in the Sprint Unlimited but who would be eligible if others fell out: Clint Bowyer (19th in points last year), Paul Menard (21st), Casey Mears (26th) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (27th).

A spokesperson for Michael Waltrip Racing confirmed that Bowyer would compete in the event. A spokesperson for RCR confirmed that Menard would race in the Sprint Unlimited.