Throughout the 2013 NASCAR season, there have been rumors of what might happen next season. Both Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch made it clear early in the year that this would be there last season with their current teams. Then, the bombshell about Ryan Newman being dropped came over the airwaves, followed shortly thereafter by the news of Jeff Burton leaving RCR. Now, following the MWR scandal, it looks like Martin Truex, Jr. may be going to Furniture Row Racing. That, coupled with the fact that Juan Pablo Montoya will be leaving the series altogether in 2014 has made for some interesting discussions.
Now, however, teams are starting to announce concrete plans for 2014. Front Row Motorsports will build off another season of significant growth and new team records in 2013, one that included the team's first win, with the return of drivers David Ragan and David Gilliland in 2014.
The pair made Front Row history in May with a dramatic, last-lap dash to the checkers at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for a 1-2 Ragan-Gilliland finish and the team's first-ever NASCAR victory. The two drivers have also combined to earn the team's highest championship points standings in its five years of full-time Sprint Cup Series racing.
"This has been a milestone year for us, and we're extremely happy that two of the guys who helped get us here will be back next year," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "We're improving our race program, attracting more sponsors, and setting and achieving higher and higher goals each year. Having David and David, our one-two punch, back in those cars next year is central to continuing our growth and improvement."
The 2014 season will be Front Row Motorsports' fifth year teaming with Gilliland and its third with Ragan. The 27-year-old Ragan will return to the cockpit of the No. 34 entry and the 37-year-old Gilliland will once again pilot the No. 38.
"Getting that first win for Front Row this year was huge," said Ragan, who has two wins in his Sprint Cup Series career. "But we made a lot of other improvements that maybe didn't get the big headlines, like qualifying better and stepping up our mile-and-a-half program, that have made a big difference in our performance every week."
"This is definitely not the same team I came to five years ago," said Gilliland, an eight-year Sprint Cup veteran with two career-best second-place finishes. "We've made big strides across the board, and I'm proud to have been a part of that progress. Now that we have almost a full year working with this Generation-6 car under our belt, I think the potential for next year is even greater for us."
In addition to achieving new heights on track, Front Row Motorsports is also enjoying a successful season of new sponsorship partners working with the team in 2013 -- relationships that are not only expected to return in 2014 but expand. The team is currently working with partner organizations to finalize those programs for next season and looks forward to announcing them in the coming weeks.
The partnership includes technology sharing, engineering, research and development provided to Germain Racing as they switch their No. 13 GEICO Cup Series cars to Chevrolet next season. The partnership also includes Germain Racing utilizing the highly reliable and powerful engines of ECR Engines.
This will also be a homecoming of sorts for the team’s driver, Casey Mears, as he drove for RCR in 2009.
“We are very pleased to have a team like Germain Racing become our partner,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “ Bob (Germain) and his team have worked very hard to become one of the better single-car teams over the past few years and we are looking to build on what they’ve already achieved.
”They’ve proven they can be winners by what they did in the Camping World Truck Series. Bob is an asset to this sport for wanting to improve the team’s performance and take them to the next level. We also look forward to having Casey back in the RCR family.”
Located in Mooresville , N.C. , Germain began competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2004, and won championships in both 2006 and 2010. They entered the Nationwide Series in 2007, making 113 starts through the end of 2011. Their full-time Sprint Cup Series endeavors began in 2009.
“Richard Childress and RCR have an extremely competitive program with a long history of winning races and championships. They have great people and tremendous resources which will allow us to continue to improve our GEICO team’s performance in 2014 and beyond.,” said Bob Germain Jr., team owner.
Of course, the sillyness isn't over yet. There will undoubtedly be more announcements regarding who will be driving where, and for whom, in the coming weeks and months.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend and the 2.66-mile track that often produces some of the most dramatic and exciting races in NASCAR will host a 500-mile event on Sunday, Oct. 20. ESPN will televise the sixth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with NASCAR Countdown airing at 1 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag at 2:19 p.m. The telecast is presented by 5 Hour Energy. All NASCAR programming on ESPN is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.
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