With NASCAR's season only a month away, a few drivers are still adjusting to new teams and several crew chiefs are adjusting to new drivers.
The most notable change in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series — which opens with the
Edwards, 35, is among the series' premier drivers, with 23 career wins, but a Cup championship has eluded him. Edwards came close in 2011 when he tied for first in points with
Now, Edwards will expand Gibbs' Cup team to four cars — Edwards will drive the No. 19
Gibbs, the team owned by Hall of Fame NFL coach Joe Gibbs, also made big changes in its crew chief lineup after the team scored only two wins in 2014, one by Hamlin and one by Busch.
Crew chief Darian Grubb shifted to Edwards from Hamlin, Dave Rogers moved to Hamlin from Busch and Adam Stevens was promoted to take over Busch's car. Jason Ratcliff remains Kenseth's crew chief.
Coincidentally, Grubb was Stewart's crew chief when Stewart edged Edwards for the title in 2011.
In response to Edwards' departure, Roush Fenway gave
That second-level series, formerly called the Nationwide Series, this year becomes the NASCAR
After Hornish won the
Brian Vickers, meanwhile, will miss the start of the Cup season after having corrective heart surgery. Vickers drives the No. 55 Toyota in the series for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Vickers, 31, initially had an artificial patch inserted to fix a hole in his heart in 2010 that also involved blood-clotting problems, and the latest surgery was to repair the patch. No timetable has been given for his return and a replacement driver hasn't yet been named.
The crew chief change that's likely to get the most attention involves the sport's most popular driver,
Earnhardt had a banner year in 2014, winning four races overall, with crew chief Steve Letarte. But Letarte left to be a TV analyst with
One thing hasn't changed in the Cup series: Johnson remains a favorite to join Petty and the late
Johnson has the lowest odds, 5-1, to win the Cup this year, according to the online gambling site Bovada. Four-time champion
In the Xfinity Series,
Wallace, 21, had been racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. When he won his first truck race in 2013, he became the first African American driver to win in one of NASCAR's three national series in nearly 50 years. Wallace won four more truck races last season.
And under NASCAR's new television rights deal, NBC Sports will carry broadcasts of the second half of the Cup season, including the 10-race Chase for the Cup title playoff, replacing ESPN. Fox carries the first half.