Everybody’s Talking (But The Parties Involved). If you believe the heavily-stoked rumor mill, Kevin Harvick is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of 2013 to race for his buddy Tony Stewart. Thing is, the parties involved are playing it close to the vest, though Happy has said he is preparing for departure. It could get real interesting if 2013 starts poorly- it’s a long run for a lame duck.
Kenseth Departs Roush For Gibbs. The number 20 Home Depot ride will have a new occupant, Matt Kenseth. After 13 full seasons racing for Jack Roush, Kenseth now joins forces with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. While Kenseth gets ribbed for being robotic, Joe Gibbs will welcome him as a refreshing, calming presence.
Allmendinger Suspended. The move of Kenseth to JGR meant the departure of Joey Logano, who lands in the 22 at Penske Racing, a ride that opened up after the suspension of A.J. Allmendinger after testing positive for a banned substance. Allmendinger quickly submitted with the “Road To Recovery” program and was back in car in short order. The bad news is the affair will likely dash any hopes he has for a top ride.
He was right in there battling for the championship until some bad luck at Martinsville, a race where he was expected to win. His 33rd place finish took him out of contention. Denny Hamlin finished the year with five wins, 14 top five and 17 top ten finishes. He led 1226 laps. His season was only three wins short of matching his season from 2011. For comparison purposes, Brad Keselowski had five wins, 13 top five, and 23 top ten finishes. If Denny could improve the races he finished bad in he would have been right there.
Denny said, “These championships are won — it’s almost the last man standing in the sense of you can’t have a bad race or it will knock you out.”
Denny Hamlin and his No 11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing team is back. Denny is looking forward to having former champion Matt Kenseth as a teammate. Denny said,
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88 Chevrolet, National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew), Tony Stewart (#14 Chevrolet, Mobil 1/Office Depot), Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota, FedEx), and Kasey Kahne (#5 Chevrolet, Farmers Insurance) rounded off the top 5.