David Reutimann will be competing in next weekend's Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, after signing up to drive the BK Racing #93 Toyota in the Great American Race.
BK Racing is a new organisation that has been set up after purchasing the assets of the defunct Red Bull Racing team just two weeks ago. Landon Cassill previously revealed
that he had been handed a full-season deal to drive the #83 car for the then-unnamed new outfit.
“It looks like we kind of got our miracle here with what those guys are doing," said Reutimann, who had looked set to miss out on the Daytona 500 after being ousted by Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of 2011.
As well as the cars and the other equipment, BK Racing also acquired the owner points from RBR which means that both Reutimann and Cassill will definitely make the grid at Daytona thanks to the points earned in 2011 by Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers.
But with the deal coming together only days before the start of Daytona Speedweek activities - including qualifying for the Daytona 500 itself this weekend - Reutimann agreed that the new team had a mountain to climb in the next week.
"They've definitely got a late start,” Reutimann said, bus insisted: "They started out with some pretty good equipment already. I feel like it will be a competitive situation. We'll just have to get down there and see what happens and get all the kinks worked out."
It's not clear whether this is just a one-race deal for Reutimann at BK Racing, which is being financially backed by former TRG Motorsports investors. Reutimann already has a 26-race deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing in the #10 car, alternating with Danica Patrick who will be driving the remaining ten races of the season including the Daytona 500 itself.
“I'd love to be able to fill in the rest of the schedule of the races that I have open,” Reutimann said. “I'll worry about that later on. I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity I have right now.”
Travis Kvapil is set to take over the #93 car for the March 4 race at Phoenix International Raceway, when Reutimann will definitely be in the TBR #10 car for the first time in 2012.
The team's newly-confirmed name, BK Racing, comes from a likely sponsorship deal for the team with Burger King franchisees.Daytona seats for Bill Elliott, Michael Waltrip
Bill Elliott will drive the #97 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota at Daytona, team owner Joe Nemechek has confirmed.
“This is a great and fun moment in racing for us at NEMCO Motorsports,” said Joe Nemechek. “We believe the talent and skill of Bill will steer the 97 car to a great showing for us and I am excited to be racing right along with him, this time on the same team.”
“I am really excited to be racing with NEMCO Motorsports and Joe Nemechek, who has been a friend and respected competitor through the years,” said Elliott. “This will be a great way to start off the 2012 NASCAR season in Daytona.”
In a separate announcement, new team Hillman Racing has announced that two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #40 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in next weekend's Cup race.
"I can't think of a better way to start off the season than to have Michael Waltrip behind the wheel of our car at Daytona," said team owner Mike Hillman Sr., adding that it "positions Hillman Racing for a strong debut."
"We could not be more pleased to work out a deal to sponsor Michael for his 26th consecutive start in the Daytona 500," said Ken Butler, chief operating officer for primary sponsors, retail chain Aaron's. "There isn't a better way to introduce our 2012 Dream Machine program than having both Mark Martin and Michael competing together in NASCAR's biggest race.
A limit on the number of cars a team can enter into a race meant that Waltrip had to stand down from driving for his own team, Michael Waltrip Racing, which has just signed veteran driver Mark Martin for a 25-race part-time season in the #55 car.
MWR has also announced that a deal to acquire the owner points of FAS Lane Racing has been struck to give Martin a guaranteed grid spot for the Daytona 500. The deal makes FAS Lane minority owner Bill Jenkins a co-owner of the #55 in order to stick to NASCAR rules.