A new NASCAR season is only a few weeks away, with some of the sport's top drivers switching teams in hopes of winning a Sprint Cup title.
They include veterans
That's in preparation for the season-opening race, the
Harvick and Busch are moving to
Most of the changes were announced over the final two months of this season. If you weren't keeping tabs, here's an overview:
Harvick: The 2007 Daytona 500 winner capped a 12-year career with
The chemistry at Stewart-Haas will be closely watched next year because Stewart, Harvick and Busch all are intense, often temperamental drivers. Patrick, meanwhile, will be trying to improve on her disappointing rookie season, in which she finished 27th in points.
Busch: The 2004 Cup champion moves to Stewart-Haas — where he'll drive the No. 41 Chevrolet — from
Newman: Despite qualifying for this year's Chase and winning one of NASCAR's marquee races, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas opted not to renew Newman's contract.
So Newman, 36, who has won 17 Cup races in his career, including the Daytona 500 in 2008, moved to Childress, where he'll take over the No. 31 Chevy from the departed Jeff Burton.
Martin Truex Jr.: Truex, 33, takes over for Busch in Furniture Row's No. 78 Chevrolet after a scandal effectively forced Truex out of his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing.
The scandal centered on MWR team efforts to manipulate the last race before the Chase so that Truex would earn a berth in the playoff.
Truex didn't make it after NASCAR penalized him and the team. Then Truex's sponsor, NAPA auto parts, dropped its multimillion-dollar sponsorship and MWR was forced to cut back to two full-time cars instead of three, with Truex the odd man out.
MWR still will have a third car next year, the No. 66 Toyota, but it will be entered in only a limited number of Cup races.
Burton: The 21-time Cup winner opted to leave Childress after this season and Burton, 46, later announced he would help test and race the third MWR car in its limited schedule.
Burton's duties initially also include testing the No. 55 Toyota normally driven by
In addition to the veteran drivers changing teams, two young drivers of note are moving up to the Cup series:
Kyle Larson: The 21-year-old Larson also was promoted from the Nationwide Series to take over the No. 42 Chevy in the Cup series for the team named
The car had been driven for several years by former