Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 21, 2013 9:55 pm

A look at drivers competing in 2013 Daytona 500

By The Associated Press

No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports

DRIVER: David Gilliland

BORN: April 1, 1976

HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Frank Kerr

SPONSOR: Love's Travel Stops

TWITTER: (at)DavidGilliland

NOTES: Finished 30th in points the last two seasons. ... Has no wins, three top-fives and six top-10s in 222 career Sprint Cup starts. ... Started on the pole and finished eighth in the 2007 Daytona 500.

No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports

DRIVER: Aric Almirola

BORN: March 14, 1984

HOMETOWN: Tampa, Fla.

CREW CHIEF: Todd Parrott

SPONSOR: Smithfield

TWITTER: (at)aric-almirola

NOTES: Finished 20th in points last season while driving his first season in the famed No. 43 for seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. ... Has bounced around NASCAR's top three circuits, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. before landing at RPM. ... Of Cuban decent, was one of the first in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.

No. 87 Toyota, NEMCO Motorsports

DRIVER: Joe Nemechek

BORN: Sept. 26, 1963

HOMETOWN: Lakeland, Fla.

CREW CHIEF: Scott Eggleston

SPONSOR: Constructors

TWITTER: (at)FrontRowJoe87

NOTES: Predominantly a start-and-park entry because of financial concerns in recent years, "Front Row Joe" finished 40th or worse 18 times in 31 starts. Was running at the end of just two races in 2012, including the Daytona 500. ... Hasn't actually been on the front row since 2008.

No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

DRIVER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

BORN: Oct. 2, 1987

HOMETOWN: Olive Branch, Miss.

CREW CHIEF: Scott Graves


TWITTER: (at)StenhouseJr

NOTES: Made headlines last month and during Speedweeks when he and former IndyCar star Danica Patrick confirmed their romantic relationship. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion who is vying with Patrick for Rookie of the Year honors. ... Replaced former series champion Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 car.

No. 26 Toyota, Swan Racing

DRIVER: Michael Waltrip

BORN: April 30, 1963

HOMETOWN: Owensboro, Ky.

CREW CHIEF: Tony Eury Jr.

SPONSOR: Sandy Hook School Support Fund

TWITTER: (at)mwr55

NOTES: Part-time driver and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. ... Two-time Daytona 500 winner who is driving this one for Sandy Hook Elementary School. Switched car number to honor the victims. Sandy Hook is the school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed by a gunman on Dec. 14.

No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing

DRIVER: Dave Blaney

BORN: Oct. 24, 1962

HOMETOWN: Hartford, Ohio

CREW CHIEF: Tommy Baldwin

SPONSOR: Florida Lottery

TWITTER: (at)Dave-Blaney

NOTES: Has no wins in 431 Cup starts across 15 seasons. ... Finished 33rd in points last season. His best showings came at Daytona, where he was 15th in the February race and 22nd in the July race. ... Is wearing a pink fire suit, a primary color of his Florida Lottery sponsor.

No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing

DRIVER: Scott Speed

BORN: Jan. 24, 1983

HOMETOWN: Manteca, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Wally Rogers


TWITTER: (at)scottspeed

NOTES: Started 17 races last season with Leavine Family Racing, finishing 42nd in points. ... Has no wins and one top-five in 106 career Cup races, including two full seasons with Red Bull Racing. ... Former Formula One driver who failed to land a podium finish in 28 starts over two seasons (2006-07).

No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports

DRIVER: Josh Wise

BORN: Feb. 7, 1983

HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Steven Lane

SPONSOR: MDS Transport

TWITTER: (at)Josh-Wise

NOTES: Driving second season for Front Row Motorsports. It's unclear how much funding the team has, meaning the car could be a start-and-park entry and not attempt every race. ... Finished 39th as a rookie in 2013. Made 30 starts. Best finish was 30th at Sonoma.

No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing

DRIVER: Trevor Bayne

BORN: Feb. 19, 1991

HOMETOWN: Knoxville, Tenn.

CREW CHIEF: Donnie Wingo

SPONSOR: Motorcraft

TWITTER: (at)Tbayne21

NOTES: The 2011 Daytona 500 winner will run full time in the Nationwide Series in 2013, taking over the No. 6 Ford driven by two-time champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Bayne has a long-term deal with Roush Fenway Racing, so it's likely he will end up running a full Sprint Cup season one day. Just not this year.

No. 39 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing

DRIVER: Ryan Newman

BORN: Dec. 8, 1977

HOMETOWN: South Bend, Ind.

CREW CHIEF: Matt Borland

SPONSOR: Quicken Loans

TWITTER: (at)RyanNewman39

NOTES: Had one victory for the third consecutive year in 2012, finishing 14th in points. ... Nicknamed "Rocket Man" because of his penchant for strong qualifying runs, Newman didn't win a pole last season for the first time since his Cup debut in 2000. ... Has a new teammate in Danica Patrick.

No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing

DRIVER: Denny Hamlin

BORN: Nov. 18, 1980

HOMETOWN: Chesterfield, Va.

CREW CHIEF: Darian Grubb

SPONSOR: FedEx Express

TWITTER: (at)dennyhamlin

NOTES: Has made the Chase for the championship every year since his first, full Cup season in 2006. ... Finished sixth last season. ... Became a father last month when longtime girlfriend Jordan Fish gave birth to their daughter, Taylor James Hamlin. ... Also is excited about new teammate Matt Kenseth: "He's won a championship and he's got the great resume, but in my mind, he's going to be a guy that I'm really going to rely on to raise my game."

No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

DRIVER: Carl Edwards

BORN: Aug. 15, 1979

HOMETOWN: Columbia, Mo.

CREW CHIEF: Jimmy Fennig

SPONSOR: Fastenal


NOTES: Trying to rebound from his worst Sprint Cup finish (15th) in eight seasons. Had no wins and just three top-fives in 2013. ... Long-time crew chief Bob Osborne left the team last July because of unspecified medical reasons. Chad Norris took over for the rest of 2012, and now Edwards has his third crew chief in the last seven months.

No. 56 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing

DRIVER: Martin Truex Jr.

BORN: June 29, 1980

HOMETOWN: Mayetta, N.J.

CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston


TWITTER: (at)MartinTruexJr56

NOTES: Made solid strides in three seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing, finishing 22nd in points in 2010, 18th in 2011 and a Chase-making 11th last season. Had 19 top-10s and seven top-fives in 2013. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion has one victory (Dover in 2007) in 261 career starts in the Cup series.

No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing

DRIVER: Michael McDowell

BORN: Dec. 21, 1984

HOMETOWN: Glendale, Ariz.


SPONSOR: K-Love/Curb Records

TWITTER: (at)Mc-Driver

NOTES: Likely will be a start-and-park car for most of the season, but could get a huge payday in the Daytona 500. Last place paid $267,637 in 2012. NASCAR, however, tweaked payout rules this season and reduced money given to the last five positions about $4,000 each. That money will be redistributed throughout positions 1-38.