Instead, he finished 14th in the driver standings, sat on four poles and enters his second season at EGR as the defending champion of the Daytona 500. Going into his sixth season as an owner/driver, Gordon plans to dial back his activity.  Martinsville Speedway's October race on Halloween weekend features a 1:30 pm EDT start because the track does not carry lights, and as a result is using the 2004-09 start time of 1:30 pm EDT. On January 7, 2011, Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton announced the formation of Leavine Fenton Racing, and that David Starr drove for the team. Sporting News Wire Service (August 17, 2010). Phoenix Racing expects to have the 1988 Cup champ in its car for at least half the season's races and perhaps will field another driver in other events. He ran 17 races last year for Prism Motorsports, which is now HP Motorsports. In 2004, he won six races. He resumes his ride hopeful of running the entire season. Given a Cup seat by first-year team owner Michael Waltrip after finishing as ARCA's runner-up in 2007, McDowell washed out and has bounced around the past two seasons. So far, Hendrick has struck out on the track with Earnhardt in the two seasons since Little E left the race team founded by his famous father in search of a championship. A journeyman since losing his Joe Gibbs ride after 2007 -- 17 races apiece in 2008 and 2010, none in 2009 after being injured in a USAC crash -- Yeley is back with another underfunded effort. Note:This list does not include exhibition races. If he gets off to a slow start this season, Labonte should have the past-champion provisional to fall back on.  T.J. Bell entered later in the season and collected his first Cup points at Pocono.  Brad Keselowski was quickest with a speed of 198.605 mph in the final session. Other changes were Kasey Kahne who joined the Red Bull Racing Team, after leaving Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010, and Marcos Ambrose who left JTG Daugherty Racing to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011, as a replacement for Kahne. Keselowski finished 25th in 2010 Cup standings, but was the champion of the Nationwide Series. At the Wonderful Pistachios 400, the last race of the regular season was hotly contested with multiple drivers needing a win to break into the Chase. 83 used five drivers in Vickers' absence and slumped to 20th in the owner standings. One of which was Paul Menard, who left Richard Petty Motorsports to drive for Richard Childress Racing. Ragan enters his fifth season -- and last season of his Roush contract -- still searching for his first Cup victory as well as the form that he showed in 2008, when, as a second-year driver, he finished 13th in the standings with 14 top-10 and six top-five finishes. Coming off the best of his 10 Cup seasons, Harvick is the circuit's new Bud Man. The next week at Watkins Glen, Cup drivers returned to road course racing, and Marcos Ambrose held off Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in a green-white-checker finish and avoided several violent crashes, including David Reutimann flipping in the esses on the final lap, to claim his first Sprint Cup Series win, becoming the fifth first-time winner in 2011. In preparation for 2011, Penske Racing made team changes by moving Brad Keselowski, along with his No. At the beginning of the season, two drivers announced plans to participate in the 2011 Rookie of the Year standings. At the season finale, championship contenders Edwards and Stewart dominated the race with a razor-thin points gap, but Stewart prevailed and took home both his fifth win of 2011 and defeated Edwards for his first Cup championship as an owner-driver (Stewart and Edwards were tied in points after the race; Stewart prevailed on the first tie-breaker, number of race wins during the season – Stewart had five wins during the season (all during the Chase) while Edwards had only one win in the third race of the season).  In March, David Stremme announced his return to the Cup Series with a new team, Inception Motorsports. He found new life at RCR after almost reaching the top with Jack Roush, finishing in the top eight of the standings for three straight seasons with his new team before falling to 17th in 2009. After losing his Richard Childress Racing ride, Mears ran in 21 races for four teams, including 12 with Germain, and failed to qualify nine times in 2010. Marcos Ambrose finished 18th and 26th in the standings the past two years driving for the team. The finish continued a countdown that can keep going only with the championship this year. 98. The No. Is this the year Edwards breaks through for the championship or will he take a step back for the third time after contending for the title? Another change for the season involves the races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which had different starting times so they would not conflict with the beginning of NFL games. Click on the Site to see Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s career results at that track.. Glossary. Sporting News Wire Service (March 21, 2011). , For the 2011 season, Trevor Bayne, who placed seventh in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, entered the series driving for Wood Brothers Racing in 17 scheduled races.
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