New Faces in New Places
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on February 18, 2014 | 7:30 A.M. EST
Kyle Larson joins Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to drive the No. 42 Target Chevrolet. (Photo: Getty Images)
Several drivers, crew chiefs and even sponsors have found new homes for the 2014 season that will officially debut in Sunday’s 56th running of the Daytona 500.
For those not completely on the lead lap, here’s a look at some of the notable team and organizational changes for Sprint Cup 2014:
Chip Ganassi Racing
Jamie McMurray returns to the No. 1 ride but with Keith Rodden as crew chief replacing the departing Kevin “Bono” Manion. Rodden, a former engineer at Hendrick Motorsports, gets his first crack on top the war wagon. McMurray welcomes Kyle Larson as a full-time teammate as he takes over the No. 42 Chevrolet from Juan Pablo Montoya. Chris Heroy returns to serve as crew chief for the highly touted rookie driver.
Furniture Row Racing
Martin Truex Jr. takes the wheel of the No. 78 Chevrolet from last year’s Cinderella story Kurt Busch. Todd Berrier continues his role as crew chief for the team that will start the Daytona 500 from outside the front row.
JTG Daugherty Racing
AJ Allmendinger moves from a part time to full-time role for the team that changed manufacturers from Toyota to Chevrolet as part of its alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
The former Phoenix Racing operation was purchased by Turner Scott Motorsports team co-owner Harry Scott. Justin Allgaier graduates from the Nationwide Series to run for Rookie of the Year in the No. 51 ride. Veteran crew chief Steve Addington will call the shots.
Richard Childress Racing
Two new drivers come to RCR led by Daytona 500 pole winner Austin Dillon, who carries the iconic No. 3 back into the Sprint Cup Series in 2014. Ryan Newman joins the fold from Stewart-Haas Racing to take the wheel of the No. 31 entry.
SHR underwent a huge overhaul including expanding the team to a fourth entry with Kurt Busch added to the stable in the No. 41 ride. First-time crew chief Daniel Knost has been aligned with Busch on the new team. Kevin Harvick is another newcomer piloting the No. 4 Chevy with previous Michael Waltrip Racing crew chief Rodney Childers. And Tony Stewart has a new crew chief of his own in another former MWR employee Chad Johnston.
Tommy Baldwin Racing
A pair of newcomers have joined TBR for the season with Michael Annett moving over from the Richard Petty Motorsports Nationwide Series program and Reed Sorenson taking the No. 36 ride. Veteran crew chiefs Kevin “Bono” Manion and Todd Parrott also joined the organization.
Front Row Motorsports
Eric McClure will join holdovers David Ragan and David Gilliland as a third entry for the Daytona 500. Additional races may be added to the No. 35 car’s schedule pending sponsorship.
Roush Fenway Racing
Team owner Jack Roush made one significant change to his three-car Sprint Cup operation by reuniting last year’s Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with his former Nationwide Series championship winning crew chief Mike Kelley.
A pair of rookies join the two-car Camry operation with Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex taking the wheels of the No. 23 and No. 83 rides, respectively.
Michael Waltrip Racing
Brian Vickers will compete for a full season in the No. 55 ride with former engineer Billy Scott the crew chief. Jeff Burton will drive a limited schedule in a No. 66 entry with team co-owner Michael Waltrip also slated to make a handful of starts, including in the Daytona 500.
Another team in the midst of a youth movement as it grows to a two-car operations. Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt will pilot the Toyota entries.