|AJ Allmendinger poses with the No. 22 ride, his new "office" for 2012.|
Credit: Shell Racing US Twitter
Listen up everyone – it’s the week of Christmas! Enough with the breaking news stories, take a break until after the new year!
OK, in reality that is not going to happen. So let’s get silly, err, sillier than we have been the past few months.
This seat-swapping reminds me of a good ole’ hoedown - swing your partner round and round. You don’t know the partner you end up with, but just dance with them anyway.
The most shocking move happened yesterday when Kurt Busch was announced as the new driver for James Finch’s No. 51 at Phoenix Racing. The No. 51 car had an average finish of 28th with driver Landon Cassill during the 2011 season. But with options being slim and Busch looking to find the missing “fun factor,” he and Finch will look for a fresh start come February.
Filling the vacant seat at Penske is a surprising name: AJ Allmendinger! Most would have thought Allmendinger was secure in his ride at RPM after finishing 15th in points, but sponsorship issues changed that. Last week, Best Buy moved their sponsorship to Roush Fenway Racing, leaving the No. 43 team searching for sponsorship. Rumors were flying that Allmendinger was being replaced by Kurt Busch.
For Allmendinger that raised concerns. “When the rumors all started last week about Kurt, that kind of threw like a red flag up in my mind about what was happening, but just like anything, they're rumors, and it really wasn't until the last few days that this has all kind of come to a head and really had a chance of happening,” he said. With that, a last-minute deal came about with Roger Penske to place Allmendinger, a former open-wheel star, into the No. 22 car vacated by Busch.
Busch to the No. 51 with Finch – no sponsor yet.
Allmendinger to the No. 22 with Penske and Shell/Pennzoil.
The other big “shoe” expected to be announced is David Ragan signing with Richard Petty Motorsports to fill the No. 43. According to Sirius Speedway’s Dave Moody, an announcement may come as soon as today.
Front Row Motorsports drivers David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil and J.J. Yeley are not under contract yet for 2012. Team officials have said they intend to have all three drivers back and expect the lineup to be determined in January.
We're still waiting for news on David Reutimann and Brian Vickers.