Former Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers will get some Cup race action this year after all, after picking up six races with Michael Waltrip Racing in the #55 car.
"I am thrilled to get back behind the wheel of not just a race car, but a very fast race car," said Vickers, who will have his first run in the car next weekend at Bristol. "This is going to be fun. I appreciate the opportunity Michael and the entire MWR organization are giving me."
The car is being driven for 24 of the 36 Cup races in 2012 by veteran racer Mark Martin, who put it on pole for the Phoenix event last weekend. However Martin is reducing his overall workload and the remaining ten oval races are to be split between Vickers and car owner Michael Waltrip. A road course specialist yet to be announced will take the final two events at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.
Originally a five-race deal was announced last weekend as having been handed to Elliott Sadler, who won his first Nationwide Series race in over 13 years at Phoenix. But the deal fell apart just two days later, possibly over conflicts of interest between the various engine manufacturers and sponsors involved.
However, Sadler himself said that after his Nationwide race win at Phoenix, his car owner Richard Childress had advised him to pull out of the Cup deal in order to concentrate on his bid for this year's Nationwide title.
Regan Smith, Paul Menard uninjured after road accident
Cup drivers Regan Smith and Paul Menard escaped unhurt after their road car was involved in a traffic accident in Colorado mid-week.
Smith and Menard, along with Smith's wife Megan and a family friend, were on their way to the ski slopes on Wednesday morning when Smith lost control of his Silverado truck after hitting a patch of ice. The truck slid off the road and crashed into a collection of trees.
The incident happened near Smith's mountain home in Evergreen, outside of Denver. Both drivers will compete as normal in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Infineon ends Sonoma naming rights deal
Infineon Technologies has decided not to renew its ten-year naming deal with Infineon Raceway at Sonoma in California.
The original deal signed in June 2002 was reportedly worth $34.4m and saw the race venue renamed from Sears Point Raceway.
John Cardinale, the vice president of marketing and communications at Infineon Raceway, said that a new naming rights partner was currently being arranged.
"There are three or four companies we're talking to," he told SportsBusiness Journal.
"I wouldn't say they're ready to sign, but they're certainly interested."