Following a successful debut season for the generation 6 race car, NASCAR looks to keep the momentum going in 2014. In their attempt to accomplish this, extensive off season testing was done, as well as competition meetings to improve the on track product.
At the same time, the teams and drivers of the sport have taken it upon themselves to create the busiest silly season in memory. While this will cause confusion early on, it brings with it the most competitive rookie class in a decade.
For the full list of Sprint Cup off season changes to the competition, teams, drivers, and sponsors, continue reading.
New group qualification procedures have been implemented in all three National divisions for every race excluding the Daytona 500 and truck series Eldora race.
Tracks 1.25 miles or longer
3 Segments – Segment 1, every car attempting to qualify, 25 mins. After Segment one the cars with the top 24 speeds advance to segments 2, everyone given starting positions 25-43. Segment two determines starting positions 13-24 with a 10 minute segment. Segment 3 is 5 minutes and determines the top 12 starters.
Tracks shorter than 1.25 miles
2 Segments – Segment 1, 30 minutes determines positions 13-43. Segment 2 is 10 minutes and determines the top 12 starters.
Rumors of changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup have been swirling. The rumor with most backing is a 16 driver format, where all regular season winners make the Chase, if there aren’t 16 winners the top drivers in points without wins will fill the field. After race 3,6, and 9 of the Chase 4 drivers would be eliminated – leaving a one race showdown between the top four drivers. Points would be reset going into the final race.
A few notes on ownership and branding for the 2014 season.
“Penske Racing” is now officially rebranded “Team Penske”
“Earnhardt Ganassi Racing” has dropped the Earnhardt branding and returns to their former designation of “Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Savages”.
“Go Green Racing” and “FAS Lane Racing” have merged to create “Go FAS Lane Racing”. Will continue to run the #32 entry
#29 team is now #3
#39 team is now #4
#93 team is now #23
#56 team is now #66
#19 team is now #77
Kevin Harvick – Was #29 at Richard Childress Racing, Now #4 at Stewart-Haas Racing.
Ryan Newman – Was #39 Stewart-Haas Racing, Now #31 Richard Childress Racing.
Kurt Busch – Was #78 Furniture Row team, Now #41 Stewart-Haas Racing.
A.J. Allmendinger – Takes over full time of #47 JTG Racing team.
Bobby Labonte – Was #47 JTG Racing, Now will race at least the Daytona 500 in the #52 Phoenix Racing Chevy.
Brian Vickers – Takes over full time of #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
Jeff Burton – Was #31 Richard Childress Racing, Now part time #66 Michael Waltrip Racing.
Dave Blaney – Was #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing, Now #77 Humphrey Racing.
Martin Truex Jr. – Was#56 Michael Waltrip Racing, Now #78 Furniture Row team.
Michael McDowell – Was #98 Phil Parsons Racing, Now #95 Leavine Family Racing.
Josh Wise – Was #35 Front Row Motorsports, Now #98 Phil Parsons Racing.
Travis Kvapil, David Reutiman, David Stremme – Free Agents
Juan Pablo Montoya – Moves back over to IndyCar
#3 – Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing – Replaces Kevin Harvick
#7 – Michael Annett, Tommy Baldwin Racing – Replaces Dave Blaney
#23 – Alex Bowman, BK Racing – Replaces Travis Kvapil
#26 – Cole Whit, Swan Racing – New Team
#30 – Parker Kligerman, Swan Racing – Replaces David Stremme and others
#42 – Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing – Replaces Juan Pablo Montoya
#51 – Justin Allgaier, Phoenix Racing – Moves to Full Time
#83 – Ryan Truex, BK Racing – Replaces David Reutiman
Brad Keselowski – Miller Lite cuts back from full season sponsorship to 24, Alliance Truck Parts and Wurth will cover the remaining 12 races
Austin Dillon – The return of the #3 brings with it new and familiar sponsors to Cup. Dow Chemical will sponsor 16 races, Cheerios, Bass Pro Shops and American Ethanol will be on the car for the remaining races.
Kevin Harvick – Brings both Bud and Jimmy Johns over from RCR, adds Outback Steakhouse.
Ryan Newman – CAT will continue to sponsor the #31, even with the driver change, however for only 20 races. Quicken Loans follows Newman from SHR to sponsor 12 races.
Kurt Busch – Haas Automation will sponsor the newly added fourth team at SHR
Aric Almirola – No changes in sponsorship, however Smithfield has signed a three year extension and will be on the car for 29 races in 2014.
Justin Allgaier – Under new ownership, Phoenix racing picks up the Brandt from lower divisions to cover 21 races.
Ryan Truex – The BK Racing team gets outside funding help as Borla Exhaust will sponsor 5 races.