When the green flag is waved Sunday afternoon to start the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, race fans will notice several new driver/sponsor combinations.
And in an effort to ease the confusion, New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials offer the following overview:
Kurt Busch, who raced the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge last season for Penske Racing, is now behind the wheel of the team’s No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. Shell-Pennzoil previously sponsored the No. 29 Richard Childress Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick. Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet now carries Budweiser logos, but the car is black instead of Budweiser’s traditional red.
Brad Keselowski, another Penske driver who raced the No. 12 Dodge with no logos on it for much of last year, replaces Busch in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.
Jeff Gordon has a new primary sponsor for the first time since he joined the series in 1992. The familiar DuPont logos on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet have been replaced by AARP’s Drive to End Hunger.
Kasey Kahne has changed teams and is behind the wheel of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota. He’ll only be in the car this season and will join Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
Paul Menard and 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte also changed teams. Menard is now driving the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing while Labonte is behind the wheel of the No. 47 Kroger Toyota for JTG Daugherty Racing. Australian Marcos Ambrose has replaced Kahne at Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 9 is now sponsored by Stanley.
New England race fans will have the opportunity to see all the cars and stars of NASCAR twice during “The Magic Mile’s” 2011 season of speed.
Tickets for all New Hampshire Motor Speedway events, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 17, the INDYCAR 225 on Aug. 14 and the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 25, can be purchased by calling the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.