JJ Yeley will return to Sprint Cup competition in 2012 after he signed a deal to drive for the new Robinson-Blakeney Racing team.

Yeley raced in a fourth car for Front Row Motorsports for most of 2011 after leaving Whitney Motorsports mid-year and finished the season in 35th place in the drivers championship, but he had seemed unlikely to find a new seat for 2012 until tapped by the new Cup team entrant.

"I am energized and looking forward to working with Jay Robinson and our team beginning at Daytona in the Duel 150 race and building success all the way to Homestead," said Yeley.

Yeley will even be reunited with his former crew chief Tony Furr, as RBR have hired him to co-ordinate and direct the new race venture. "I have enjoyed a good working relationship in the past with Tony Furr as my crew chief and am happy to be partnered with him again on this team," said Yeley.

"I am excited to again be working with a talented driver like JJ, as well as the rest of the team and owners at Robinson-Blakeney Racing," added Furr.

The launch of RBR was announced last week, and is the result of veteran Nationwide Series team owner Jay Robinson partnering with Houston businessman Troy Blakeney to run a full-time Toyota-based Sprint Cup entry in 2012. "We are preparing the team for a very successful 2012 season and we are very pleased to announce our partnerships with Tony and JJ", said Robinson.

Robinson's organisation has entered every Nationwide race since 2001, and fielded drivers including former Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope, Kenny Wallace, Dennis Setzer and Mark Green. His team will continue to field the #28 car in the 2012 Nationwide Series, with a variety of drivers.

Richard Childress Racing adds fourth car to opening races

Richard Childress Racing will field a fourth car for the first five races of the 2012 Sprint Cup season, with Elliott Sadler driving the Daytona 500 before veteran driver Brendan Gaughan then takes over for the next four races.

They will be driving the #33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala, which last year was helmed by Clint Bowyer. Bowyer has since left the team and joined Michael Waltrip Racing, and it was expected that RCR would drop down to a three-car line-up consisting of Paul Menard (#27), Kevin Harvick (#29) and Jeff Burton (#31).

However, for the first five races of the new season, the #33 will be automatically qualified for the event through the owners points that it accrued in 2011. RCR doesn't want to squander the guaranteed airtime for sponsors and has instead chosen to use the opportunity to put Sadler and Gaughan out on track.

"We're excited about Brendan running a limited schedule of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for RCR this season in addition to his Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedule," said Richard Childress. "Brendan has a full season of racing in the Sprint Cup Series and a few top-10 finishes under his belt ... We think he has a great chance for some strong finishes in the No. 33 South Point Chevrolet."

"The opportunity to run four races for Richard Childress in the Sprint Cup Series is truly amazing," said Gaughan. "Everyone deserves a second chance and I am ecstatic that my second chance in the Sprint Cup Series is in the #33 Chevrolet with RCR.

"It's a great opportunity," said Sadler of his chance to start the Daytona 500, adding that when Childress approached him with the idea "I wanted to give him a hug."

Veteran crew chief Gil Martin, RCR's Nationwide Series program team manager, will be in charge of the #33's limited programme. Martin has previously served as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kerry Earnhardt and Robby Gordon.

The pit crew will most likely be drawn from the organisation's existing Nationwide and Truck teams, added RCR's vice president of competition Mike Dillon, who also said that RCR would be interested in adding to the car's schedule beyond the first five races should more sponsorship become available.

Harvicks announce pregnancy

Kevin Harvick has revealed that his wife DeLana is pregnant, and that the couple's decision to start a family was the reason why they chose to close down their Kevin Harvick, Inc. racing team and business at the end of 2011 after ten years of operation.

"You go through different phases of your life," said Harvick during the third day of the Sprint Media Tour. "You sit down and do your estate planning and it's just you and her. There's nobody to carry on the things that we sat there and built.

"How important are a bunch of race cars 15 years down the road? Not very. It kind of helped put a lot of things in perspective," Harvick continued. "When your wife tells you she is not starting a family unless you get out of the race team business, that is a pretty big factor in things that are going on."

KHI's Nationwide Series team was subsequently absorbed into Richard Childress Racing and will provide the basis for Austin Dillon's maiden season in the championship in 2012. KHI's Truck Series squad was taken over by Eddie Sharp Racing, while the team's former shop floor is now a full-length basketball court.

The Harvicks are expected to welcome the new addition to their own team in mid-July, conveniently scheduled for a rare rest week in the Sprint Cup schedule. Harvick said that he hopes that the child eventually "wants to like play golf or something ... and not race!"

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