Tag:2012 Sprint Cup Series Schedule
Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:08 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 11:17 am

2012 Sprint Cup Series driver changes

By Pete Pistone

Fans won't be able to tell the players - or in this case drivers - without a scorecard this coming Sprint Cup Series season. There have been numerous driver changes, swaps and movement since the final checkered flag of 2011 flew at Homestead last November.

You can keep up with all the new faces in new places right here, which will be updated regularly as more changes take place:

No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

In: Kasey Kahne comes over after a one year run at Red Bull Racing to take the reigns of the No. 5 Chevy, which will sport Farmer’s Insurance as its primary sponsor. Kahne signed the deal in 2010 but with nowhere to go in his four-car stable, team owner Rick Hendrick brokered a deal with Red Bull for last season. 

Out: Mark Martin ended his Hendrick tenure at the end of last season with a disappointing performance. Martin has moved on to Michael Waltrip Racing for 2012. 

Our Take: Kahne comes to Hendrick with Kenny Francis and the duo has become one of the best driver-crew chief combos in the Sprint Cup Series. They ended their Red Bull careers on a hot streak and bring that same momentum and confidence to the potent Hendrick organization.

No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

In: Clint Bowyer joins MWR after his successful career at Richard Childress Racing. Sponsor 5-Hour Energy will back the entry for the majority of the season and talented crew chief Brian Pattie comes on board to call the shots after leaving Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. 

Out: Waltrip has added a third entry to his stable to join incumbent Martin Truex Jr. as well as newcomer Mark Martin who takes David Reutimann’s spot with the team. 

Our Take: Bowyer brings MWR’s talent level up considerably and seemed ready for a fresh start after his contract talks at RCR stalled. He was in the enviable position of having a sponsor in hand and chose Waltrip’s operation as the place for the next phase of his Cup career. Getting off to a fast start will be key for the new team’s success.

No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge

In: A.J. Allmendinger slides into the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge in a move from Richard Petty Motorsports. The stars aligned for Allmendinger to get a shot at taking over a car that won twice last season and made the Chase and he seems an ideal fit for team owner Roger Penske’s style.

Out: Kurt Busch “mutually parted ways” with Penske after his tumultuous 2011 season and will drive for Phoenix Racing this season.  The infamous incident with ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch at the Homestead season finale was the tipping point for Busch to end his tenure with Penske Racing. 

Our Take: Allmendinger has been able to perform under tense conditions at both Red Bull and RPM when financial issues played a big part in each team’s day to day operation. He now can rest assured that there will be stability at Penske and can concentrate on trying to elevate his game. There is some pressure taking over the wheel of a successful entry like the No. 22 and trying to win with a rookie Sprint Cup crew chief in Todd Gordon.

No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford

In: David Ragan lands with Front Row Motorsports after being squeezed out of Roush Fenway Racing due to sponsorship issues and not getting the call for open seats at Penske Racing or Richard Petty Motorsports. Ragan stays in the Ford camp with the move.

Out: Travis Kvapil is the odd man out at this poont although team officials haven't ruled out the possibility of a third entry at selected races with Kvapil splitting time with J.J. Yeley and Michael McDowell. A former truck series champ, Kvapil joins the list of drivers impacted by sponsorship issues in 2012.

Our Take: Ragan is a Sprint Cup Series race winner with his Daytona victory last July and has the talent to potentially bring this team up a notch or two in the performance department. But make no mistake, Front Row is by no means anywhere close to having the resources of a Roush Fenway Racing and Ragan will have a challenging season ahead trying to be success with a much smaller and less funded race team.

No. 35 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet

In: David Reutimann has landed with the upstart independent team after his release from Michael Waltrip Racing. The popular driver will pair with Dave Blaney in what TBR hopes will be a two-car effort for at least 26 races with sponsorship dictating the complete schedule. 

Out: TBR ran a handful of races with the car last season that saw the likes of Stephen Leicht, Geoffrey Bodine and Steve Park behind the wheel. 

Our Take: TBR was the quintessential David vs. Goliath story last season and scored some much needed exposure with a number of solid runs particularly at Daytona and Talladega. The team will face another uphill battle this season but the addition of Reutimann and his marketability could bring in additional sponsorship dollars that will in turn help the organization became more competitive.

No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford

In: Aric Almirola was the somewhat surprising choice to take the wheel of the famed No. 43 entry at RPM. Almirola spent last year driving for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series and after running a handful of Cup races for RPM in 2010 was tabbed to fill the seat of the iconic ride for 2012. 

Out: A.J. Allmendinger was granted his release from the team after primary sponsor Best Buy opted to leave for Roush Fenway Racing. Allmendinger then signed on to drive the No. 22 Dodge at Penske Racing. 

Our Take: The good news is RPM remains a two-car effort and that the No. 43 stays on track for 2012. But the team once again faces a rebuilding process taking on a new driver in Almirola to pair with Marcos Ambrose. Allmendinger had made strides to bring the organization up to the next level and seemed to be knocking on the door for his first career Sprint Cup win last season. There will be pressure on Almirola to continue that upward trend.

No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet

In: Kurt Busch takes his much-publicized leap from Penske Racing to James Finch’s operation in hopes of “putting the fun” back into his racing career. The team once again continues its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports ensuring quality cars and potent engines for its 2012 effort. 

Out: Landon Cassill piloted the ride for the bulk of the 2011 season when the 51 entry wound up finishing 30<sup>th</sup> in the final owner point standings. 

Our Take: Right out of the box look for Busch to be a factor at Daytona as Finch’s teams always perform well at restrictor plate tracks. The former series champion’s considerable talents automatically elevates the organization and it won’t hurt having someone of Busch’s stature when hunting down new sponsors. But whether Busch is in for the long haul when tough times inevitably come for the small, one car operation remains to be seen as well as whether he can take the team further up the point standings.

No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

In: Mark Martin signed a two-year deal to drive the former No. 00 Camry with sponsor Aaron’s on board in a 25-race schedule. Team owner Waltrip plans to pilot the entry for five more races at Daytona, Talladega and Kentucky.

Out: David Reutimann was released at the end of last season with Waltrip and sponsor Aaron’s citing a lack of performance as the main reason for the change. 

Our Take: Martin still has the desire to drive and at times showed he could get the job done last year in both his time with Hendrick’s No. 5 Sprint Cup entry as well as some limited starts for Turner Motorsports’ Nationwide program. The 25-race slate should fit perfectly into Martin’s limited schedule desires. Waltrip’s four plate race starts as well as the home date in Kentucky will provide exposure and publicity for the sponsor, the former Daytona 500 winner and spokesperson extraordinaire's specialty.

Dropped teams

No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford

The loss of full-time sponsor UPS forced team owner Jack Roush to shut down his fourth entry for the 2012 season leaving David Ragan on the unmployment line. Despite winning his first career Sprint Cup Series race last July at Daytona, Ragan was forced out of RFR at season's end.

No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Sponsorship issues led to team owner Richard Childress to eliminate this entry from his Sprint Cup stable and to part ways with Clint Bowyer, who left for Michael Waltrip Racing. RCR goes back to three teams for the 2012 season with Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard

No. 4 and No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyotas

The departure of Red Bull as both owner and sponsor of this team means two less entries for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series campaign. General Manager Jay Frye was not successful finding new investors to keep the organization's doors open and an official shut down was the aftermath. While Kasey Kahne has landed at Hendrick Motorsports, Brian Vickers does not have a ride lined up for the new season. 


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Posted on: September 28, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 4:57 pm

Sprint Cup schedule more of the same

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Other than a later date for the Daytona 500 the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule has a familiar look to it)

Contrary to some popular belief, the NASCAR schedule is not created with the use of a dartboard.

In reality there are a lot of elements that go into the creation of the annual Sprint Cup calendar which at 36 points races and two exhibitions events over 10 months is the longest in professional sports. 

The 2012 edition of the Sprint Cup slate was officially released on Wednesday through much fanfare as an interactive Twitter event. NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Operations Steve O’Donnell, the man charged with cobbling together the schedules for all three of the sanctioning body’s top divisions –- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series – fielded questions from fans as the next year’s race dates were sent out month-by-month.

2012 Sprint Cup schedule: Viewable | Printable

It was a nice attempt to bring the sport closer to its rabid fan base through social media, but unfortunately fell a bit short of the wild frenzy that accompanies the schedule releases of both the NFL or NBA. 

Part of the problem was that despite NASCAR not officially releasing the entire schedule, individual tracks have been trumpeting their 2012 race dates for months. Tracks need to sell tickets as quickly as possible, so when those dates become available a press release is fired out pretty quickly to begin the sales process. 

It was an easy process to plug each of those dates into the 2012 calendar and come up with the schedule long before NASCAR got around to its Wednesday announcement.

So while I applaud NASCAR for trying to put an interesting twist on the schedule announcement through the use of Twitter, hopefully next year the idea can come a little sooner so there’s still some mystery to the release. 

Overall, next year’s schedule looks pretty much identical to this season’s with minor tweaks rather than any significant changes. 

One of the biggest differences will simply be the later start to the season, which will still drop the green with the Daytona 500. However, the sport’s biggest race will come a week later than year’s past and take the green flag on Sun., Feb. 26.

The idea to slide back is actually a smart move by NASCAR in anticipation of what is expected to be a later Super Bowl by as early as 2013. The NFL has indicated its championship game is headed for a mid-February slot either with or without an 18-game regular season so NASCAR wisely has gotten ahead of that decision by separating the Super Bowl of stock car racing from football’s version.

Daytona’s Speedweeks will also be preceded by a few testing days at “The World Center of Racing.” The annual Preseason Thunder sessions will be held at Daytona on January 12-14.

After that, the rest of the year will go off in nearly the same fashion as the 2011 schedule. Kansas will see a late April date moved up from last year’s inaugural June STP 400 weekend and also pushed back its October date to later in the month. The track is headed for a repaving and reconfiguration plan next season which will begin after the spring race and be ready for action in the fall. 

The 10-race Chase schedule remains relatively untouched with the same tracks comprising next year’s championship lineup. Chicagoland Speedway gets a second shot at hosting the opening round while Talladega inches up a couple of weeks and now occupies the fourth Chase slot.

But there is nothing extraordinary about the 2012 Sprint Cup schedule and hopes of changing the races inside the Chase or the possibility of a prime time mid-week race will have to be put on hold for another year.

It’s not an easy process by any means to change around the agenda. NASCAR and O’Donnell face a number of challenges when the scheduling process rolls around with everything from weather to television partners to tracks seeking to hold on to traditional weekends in the mix of decisions. 

Those options also apply to the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series schedules. The 2012 editions for each series are still be finalized and indications they will be released late next week. Unlike its Sprint Cup cousin, there is expected to be some major wrinkles to both those slates with a few new venues and dates in the mix.

So with eight races left to decide this year’s Sprint Cup champion, we can officially sneak a peek at what next season will bring. 

It’s a familiar look to be sure.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @ppistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 4:58 pm

NASCAR releases 2012 Sprint Cup schedule

By Pete Pistone

NASCAR officially released the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule on Wednesday and as expected there were some minor tweaks but nothing radical in the calendar for the new year.

The season will start a couple weeks later than in recent years when the Daytona 500 kicks off the year on Sunday, February 26. It marks the latest the traditional season-opneing event has been held since 1967.

Other changes were of the minor variety including Kansas Speedway sliding its first weekend from June to April as well as moving the October date back two weeks.

The fall Kansas moves shifts Talladega's Chase race up to October 7th, where it will be the fourth race of the title race.


2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule
Date Site
Feb. 18 Daytona International Speedway (*Budweiser Shootout)
Feb. 19 Daytona International Speedway (*Daytona 500 qualifying)
Feb. 23 Daytona International Speedway (*Gatorade Duels)
Feb. 26 Daytona International Speedway
March 4 Phoenix International Raceway
March 11 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 18 Bristol Motor Speedway
March 25 Auto Club Speedway
April 1 Martinsville Speedway
April 14 Texas Motor Speedway
April 22 Kansas Speedway
April 28 Richmond International Raceway
May 6 Talladega Superspeedway
May 12 Darlington Raceway
May 19 Charlotte Motor Speedway (*All-Star Race)
May 27 Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 3 Dover International Speedway
June 10 Pocono Raceway
June 17 Michigan International Speedway
June 24 Infineon Raceway
June 30 Kentucky Speedway
July 7 Daytona International Speedway
July 15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 29 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug. 5 Pocono Raceway
Aug. 12 Watkins Glen International
Aug. 19 Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 25 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 2 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sept. 8 Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 16 Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 23 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sept. 30 Dover International Speedway
Oct. 7 Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 13 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Oct. 21 Kansas Speedway
Oct. 28 Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 4 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 11 Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 18 Homestead-Miami Speedway
Note: Times to be announced; * - Non-championship points event.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 8:17 pm

2012 Sprint Cup schedule coming Wednesday

By Pete Pistone

NASCAR will officially unveil the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule at 12 Noon ET Wednesday afternoon.

The slate will initially be announced through a special Twitter chat session involving NASCAR (@NASCAR) and NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell (@odsteve). A special hashtag – #2012Schedule – will accompany each tweet. 

O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations, is tasked with developing each season’s schedule. He'll host a Twitter Q&A and offer his insight into development of the schedule, and the process that goes into putting together a 38-week schedule that encompasses 23 tracks.

Only the Sprint Cup Series schedule will be released on Wednesday with the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series slates reportedly still days away from being finalized.

The entire official schedule will be available here at CBS Sports.com.

There are no surprises expected on the 2012 calendar and with individual tracks already releasing their dates, next year's schedule should look as follows:


February 18
Bud Shootout

February 26
Daytona 500

March 4

March 11
Las Vegas

March 18

March 25

April 1

April 8
Easter - Off

April 14

April 22

April 28

May 6

May 12

May 19
All-Star Race

May 27

June 3

June 10

June 17

June 24

June 30

July 7

July 15
New Hampshire

July 22

July 29

August 5

August 12
Watkins Glen

August 19

August 25

September 2

September 8

September 16

September 23
New Hampshire

September 30

October 7

October 13

October 21

October 28

November 4

November 11

November 18

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com