BY DAVE GRAYSON.
It seems rather odd to think of NASCAR racing teams making last minute deals during the month of January. After all, it’s only the first month of a brand new year. However, when the 2014 NASCAR racing season is less than a month away, and the start of that season is the highly prestigious and lucrative Daytona 500, that does mean that January is indeed the month for last minute deals for wheels. Here’s a few examples from just the last week or two:
ALLGAIER GETS THAT ALL IMPORTANT SHOT AT THE CUP.
In a move that was very much expected, Harry Scott, owner of Phoenix Racing, announced that he has signed Justin Allgaier to drive his #51 BRANDT Chevrolet for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
The 27 year old driver, from Riverton-Illinois, spent the 2013 season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the BRANDT Chevrolet, for Turner Scott Motorsports where he finished fifth in the final standings. Allgaier has already filed as a candidate for the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie Of The Year award.
Needless to say, Allgaier is thrilled over the opportunity to get a coveted ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In a statement, issued by the team’s public relations department, Allgaier said: “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I intend to make the most of it. I am very grateful to Harry Scott and BRANDT for having faith in me to compete against the best drivers in the world.”
BRANDT, a manufacturer and retailer of agricultural speciality products, will make the move to the Sprint Cup Series with Allgaier and sponsor him for 21 races. Also signing sponsorship agreements with the team are: the National FFA, Trademark Nitrogen, the Nutrients For Life Foundation, Precision Tanks and the Griggs Brothers. That line up creates a very unique factor: the Phoenix Racing #51 Chevrolet will be sponsored by a group of companies that are all related to the agriculture industry.
Team owner Harry Scott also announced that NASCAR veteran driver, and former Sprint Cup champion, Bobby Labonte will drive his #52 Chevrolet for several races in 2014 including the upcoming Daytona 500.
BK RACING EMBRACES THE YOUTH MOVEMENT
Ron Devine, owner of BK Racing, announced the signing of young gun drivers Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex for 2014. Both drivers will make their debut with the team in the upcoming Daytona 500 and will be considered candidates for the 2014 Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year competition.
Alex Bowman will be making his official Sprint Cup debut in BK Racing’s #23 Toyota at Daytona. The 20 year old Arizona driver made 32 starts last year as a rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he scored a pair of top five finishes, six top tens and finished the season with an impressive 11th place in the series’ championship standings. Crew chief Dave Winston will be guiding Bowman during his rookie Sprint Cup season.
Bowman’s Toyota has been assigned a new number. Last year the car was #93. Explaining the number change, via a team press release, team Ron Devine said: ” In an effort to better align with long-time partner Dr Pepper, BK Racing will renumber the #93 to the #23 in 2014. The number is synonymous with the regular Dr Pepper’s original 23 flavors. However the #93 will remain with the team on a part-time basis.”
Bowman, whom many believe has a bright future in NASCAR racing, commented on his new opportunity, via the team’s release, and said: ”This is an extremely good opportunity for me. Ron (Devine) and I first started talking about the possibilities months ago. I’m happy to be a part of this organization.”
21 year old New Jersey native Ryan Truex is the third generation of a racing family and joins older brother Martin Truex Jr in the Sprint Cup Series this year. He’s a two time champion of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and made a total of three Sprint Cup starts last year. His full time venture in Cup racing this year, in the team’s #93 Toyota. will be led by crew chief Dale Ferguson.
Commenting on his Sprint Cup opportunity, from the team’s press release, Truex said: “Driving in the Sprint Cup Series has been a goal since I started racing, and to start this next chapter with BK Racing makes it extra special. “I am very excited for this opportunity.”
Both drivers drove the BK Racing Toyotas in the NASCAR Pre Season Thunder test held earlier in January at Daytona. Each made a very positive impression on Devine who said: “Alex and Ryan have always impressed me,” team owner Ron Devine said in a release from the team. “Both take care of their cars and have shown speed at every level they have competed in. With their abilities, we feel they can both excel in our equipment. As a team we are very excited, and their abilities to work with everyone here at BK Racing will be important.”
BK GETS A NEW ALLIANCE.
From a January 21st team press release, Team Penske announced that Alliance Truck Parts will join the #2 Ford Fusion team for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series.
After successfully partnering with Team Penske in the Nationwide Series for the last several seasons, Alliance Truck Parts will transition to become a primary sponsor for the #2 Ford Fusion, driven by 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski. The distinctive bright yellow Alliance Truck Parts colors will adorn the Team Penske Ford for eight races in 2014 beginning with the race at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2.
An industry-leading provider of heavy duty truck parts for the commercial transportation industry, Alliance Truck Parts will also be a prominent associate sponsor on the #2 Ford throughout the 2014 season.
SOME LOVE FOR DAVID GILLILAND.
From a January 21st team press release from Front Row Motorsports:
Love’s Travel Stops will significantly broaden its partnership with Front Row Motorsports in 2014, partnering with the Sprint Cup Series team for 14 races on David Gilliland’s #38 Ford. Fans will first see the return of the bright yellow, red and black paint scheme at the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Love’s Travel Stops first teamed up with Front Row Motorsports in 2013, sponsoring three races in the company’s first venture into NASCAR. Gilliland pushed the brand to the center of attention at Talladega Superspeedway in May, when his Love’s Travel Stops Ford shoved teammate David Ragan to the front of the field to earn Front Row’s first victory in a 1-2 Ragan-Gilliland finish.
Love’s Travel Stops, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., is family-owned and operated with more than 310 locations in 39 states and is currently ranked No. 9 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies.
A VERY POWERFUL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM ERNIE ELLIOTT.
Power by Ernie Elliott announced the company has officially restructured and is offering full service leasing programs to NASCAR’S top-3 divisions, ARCA Racing Series, and other motorsport divisions.
The company develops and builds high performance Chevrolet and Toyota engines with legendary engine builder Ernie Elliott at the helm. Ernie Elliott’s accomplishments include holding the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying record of 212.809mph, 1 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship, 51 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series poles, 39 wins, 148-top 5’s and 291-top 10’s. His engine building expertise has also earned him three ARCA Championships including 37 wins.
Located in Dawsonville, GA, the Power by Ernie Elliott facility is a fully equipped engine shop with the latest technology utilized to achieve top results.