http://www.jayski.com/ is reporting 41 full-time Cup teams at this time, 17 Chevy’s, 13 Fords and 11 Toyotas. Kenseth, for the first time in his Cup career, won’t be climbing into a Jack Roush Ford on Sundays. In 2013 he’s driving the No. 20 Toyota out of the Joe Gibbs Racing shops.
I won’t bore you with all the sponsor troubles facing teams in NASCAR, but I will note the Home Depot will only be on the 20 car 21 times this season.
• Rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (is it just me or is there a whole bunch of Jr.’s racing around the country?) will drive the No. 17.
• Joey Logano, after four full seasons driving for Gibbs, moves to the Roger Penske No. 22.
• Danica Patrick will run full time in 2013. She’ll run the No. 10 for Stewart Hass Racing. As most of you know, Stewart Hass gets lots of support from Hendrick Motorsports.
• Austin Dillon, Richard Childress’s grandson, may get some starts in the No. 33. That number, previously owned by Childress, was bought by Joe Falk last season. Stephen Leicht started 15 races in that car and won Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Jayski has the No. 33 listed under the full-time teams in 2013 but nothing appears to be set in stone.
• Tommy Baldwin’s No. 36 is another question mark. No word on any sponsors or if Dave Blaney returns to drive.
• The No. 37, who in 2012 had an alliance with Tommy Baldwin Racing, is another team with some question marks. J.J. Yeley drove this car in 2012.
• James Finch, who gave Kurt Busch a shot last season to drive his No. 51 only to see him bolt to the 78 in October, will be back with a couple of drivers.
Regan Smith who lost his ride to Busch will drive the 51 at Daytona. A.J. Allmendinger will drive it in the second event of the year at Phoenix. After that, the plan is for Smith and Allmendinger to “share” the ride. Not sure why Finch wants two drivers. But I do tip my hat to him for continuing to field cars at this level with his budget.
• That’s about it for guys driving different cars in 2013. I miss the old “silly season” where some years it was like musical chairs. You weren’t sure who was going where until certain rides were claimed.
• Guys returning to the same teams as in 2012 include, Jamie McMurray 1, Brad Keselowski 2, Kasey Kahne 5, Marcos Ambrose 9, Denny Hamlin 11, Casey Mears 13, Tony Stewart 14, Clint Bowyer 15, Greg Biffle 16 and Kyle Busch 18. Also, Travis Kvapil 23 (may be renumbered to 93), Jeff Gordon 24, Josh Wise 26, Paul Menard 27, Kevin Harvick 29, David Stremme 30 (Michael Waltrip will attempt to put this car in the Daytona 500), Jeff Burton 31, Ken Schrader 32 (for only 10 races at this time), David Ragan 34, David Gilliland 38 and Ryan Newman 39. Plus, Juan Montoya 42, Aric Almirola 43, Bobby Labonte 47, Jimmie Johnson 48, Mark Martin 55 (24 races), M. Waltrip 3, Brian Vickers 9, Martin Truex Jr. 56, Landon Cassill left the No. 83 earlier this week, Joe Nemechek 87, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88, Michael McDowell 98 and Carl Edwards back in the 99.
A couple of part-timers are Sam Hornish Jr. in the 12 and Trevor Bayne in the Wood Brothers No. 21 is looking to run 12 to 18 events
Helliwell, Laperle Honored at ACT Banquet
American Canadian Tour Champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. and 2012 Série ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle were honored at the ACT Banquet last weekend. ACT awarded over $700,000 in point funds and event purses to teams in 2012.
Helliwell was honored after one of the most entertaining point battles in ACT’s history, beating out eight-time Tour Champion Brian Hoar in an epic battle for his first-ever ACT Championship. He won four races in 2012, including his first career ACT victory, and only finished worse than seventh once. He won $10,000 for his ACT Championship, but also picked up an additional $5,000 from the Ford point fund for winning the Ford Blue Oval Challenge for a record third time in a row.
Laperle enjoyed a comeback year on the Série ACT Castrol. After falling as low as sixth in the beginning of the season, Laperle surged for four wins and nine top 5s to claim an unprecedented third Castrol Series Championship, along with a $10,000 check. Laperle, now with 17 feature victories, sits just one win away from having the most in Series history. Donald Theetge has 18.
The prestigious MacTavish Award was given to car owner Richard Green. Green, who in 2012 owned the 16VT of Joey Becker and the 16NY car on the ACT Tour, was given the award for his dedication and loyalty to ACT, and his contributions to the sport of auto racing.
The Pete Hartt Memorial Media Award was earned by Vermont Motorsports Magazine editor T.J. Ingerson, who was touted for his emergence as one of the region’s premiere auto racing writers, and was also praised for his tireless dedication to ACT and other motorsports through his publication.
The Doc Nielson Rookie Award was given to Jimmy Hebert, who also won Rookie of the Year on the American Canadian Tour. Hebert impressed with top 10 finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Airborne Speedway, and Thunder Road, and also finished in the top 10 in overall points on the American Canadian Tour. Etienne Cliche took Rookie of the Year honors in the Castrol Series after a career-best sixth place finish in the season finale at St-Eustache. He finished eleventh overall in the 2012 Série ACT Castrol Standings.
For the second year in a row, the ACT Crew Chief Award went to Bruce Bernhardt, who served as both crew chief and car owner for the ACT U.S. Championship No. 27NH car driven by Helliwell Jr. The pair won over 20 races in the region in 2012, including their first ACT Championship. Bernhardt is the first Crew Chief to win two consecutive Crew Chief awards, and is the only guy to have won it twice.
On the Série Castrol Tour, Crew Chief Gabriel Drouin of the No. 21QC, driven by Jean Francois Dery, won the award. The team finished second in the overall standings on the Castrol Series, and finished on the podium a stunning nine times in 2012. The team only finished outside the top 10 twice.
With the off-season already halfway over, the 2013 season approaches quickly. The ACT season begins at Lee USA Speedway with a 150-lap event on the weekend of April 13-14. Série ACT Castrol kicks off at Autodrome Montmagny May 25 with a 100-lap event.
Can Anyone Help?
Florence Hanaford, Harold’s wife, is looking for a picture of a race car numbered 553 that used to race at Boltonville and at the Plymouth (NH) Fairgrounds back in the 1960s. If you know anything about this car please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Until Next Week
If you’re in the St. J. area Saturday, Jan. 19 stop in at Gold Crown Lanes and say hi. We’re hosting an open house from 4-7 p.m.
• Every day find someone or something that makes you laugh.