The Silliest Season

Tom GCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2008

2009 will certainly have a different look as many drivers will be sporting their new cars and firesuits. This year's silly season has been one of the most changed-filled in years and offers many drivers a fresh start as they head into 2009.

From Tony Stewart to Casey Mears to Mark Martin, this silly season has included some of the biggest names in the sport and it seemingly has no end in sight.

No. 00, David Reutimann: David Reutimann will be back in the No. 00 car for the 2009 season. Aaron's will be primary sponsor for 18 races and Michael Waltrip Racing is still searching for a sponsor for the remainder of the season. David Reutimann has been getting hot lately and hopes to bring that momentum into the 2009 season.

No. 07, Casey Mears: Casey Mears will be piloting the No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet in 2009 as he looks to light a fire under his career and get it pointed in the right direction. Casey will be in the fifth different car in five years but hopes this is the one to get him to victory lane. He will be replacing Clint Bowyer as Bowyer moves to the No. 33 car, a fellow Richard Childress Racing car.

No. 5, Mark Martin: Mark Martin will join Hendrick Motorsports in 2009 and will try one last time (as of now) to win a Sprint Cup Series Championship. Kellogg's and Car Quest will return as the dual primary sponsors. Mark Martin has ran well with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, putting the car into contention for victories several times this year and with the top notch Hendrick equipment, looks for him to be a legitimate Chase contender next year.

No. 6, David Ragan: UPS has signed on to sponsor Ragan's No.6 in 2009. Ragan, just shy of missing the Chase this year is just the young and up and coming driver UPS needs.

No. 8, Aric Almirola: Aric Almirola will drive the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevy full time since the driver he shared the car with, Mark Martin, took a ride up with Hendrick Motorsports. No word on sponsors for this car yet.

No. 10, Reed Sorenson: Recently signing for Gillett Everham Motorsports, Reed Sorenson was chosen to replace Patrick Carpentier in the third Gillette Evernham car. It is not official yet as to what number he will drive but word in the garage is it will most likely be the No. 10 car.

There is no word as to a sponsor yet but Valvoline looks unlikely with their increased support for Roush Fenway Racing. Sorenson has struggled throughout his young career but feels confident that with the right equipment, he will be competitive and Gillette Evernham will provide him with that.

No. 12, David Stremme: David Stremme is making a comeback and he hopes it will be more successful than the last stint he had in the series. Alltel is returning as the primary sponsor for the Penske Dodge. Penske, although with two wins this season, has struggled  to run up front all season so look for David to have a rough start in his new ride but in time, he will be competitive, Stremme has shown flashes of greatness and has a lot of potential.

No. 14, Tony Stewart: Probably the biggest story of this silly season this season has Tony Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to dip his feet into the ownership waters. Stewart, the two-time Spring Cup Series Champion bought into Haas/CNC Racing and became part owner of the newly named Stewart/Haas Racing.

Office Depot and Old Spice have joined Stewart's efforts and will serve as dual primary sponsors. Stewart has chosen the No. 4 in honor of his hero, AJ Foyt. This team will receive Hendrick Motorsports equipment so look for them to at least contend for a Chase spot.

No. 20, Joey Lagano: With Tony Stewart going to drive for his own team, it left this top notch car without a driver and teen driving sensation Joey Lagano promptly filled it.

Lagano will pilot the Home Depot Toyota and hopes to be Rookie of the Year. Lagano has struggled in his first two Sprint Cup Series races and with limited Nationwide experience, although he won in his third career start, look for him to struggle as he gets his career going but in time, he will be a great driver.

No. 24, Jeff Gordon: No changes here as to driver and sponsor but he will have a different paint scheme, something rare for that No. 24 car. Rumors have the paint scheme having a black base.

No. 31, Jeff Burton: No big changes to this team except a change in sponsor. Caterpillar has signed on to be the primary sponsor of the No. 31 Richard Childress car in 2009.

No. 33, Clint Bowyer: Clint Bowyer is a Richard Childress Racing driver for the 2008 season and will be again in 2009, just in a different car. He will be sponsored by General Mills/Cheerios. Richard Childress is weighing in on the idea of merging or buying a car to get the car in the top 35. Look for Clint to run well next year as log as he can qualify—he is currently sitting sixth in points and finished out last year third in points.

No. 39, Ryan Newman: The 2008 Daytona 500 Champion will take to Daytona in Feburary in a Stewart/Haas Chevrolet. No word on how long Newman has signed but it is a multi-year contract. Rumored sponsors have been Burger King and the U.S. Army. Newman chose the No. 39 because his first USAC midget victory came in that number.

No. 41, AJ Allmendinger?: It is still a very fresh rumor but it seems most likely Allmendinger will wind up in Ganassi's No. 41 Dodge.

No. 44, Michael McDowell? Josh Wise?: No word on the driver for this car next year and no sponsor has even been rumored to this car. Reutimann will not return to this car next year as he will be in the #00 car again.

No. 45, Kyle Petty? Chad McCumbee?: As of now, it looks as if Chad McCumbee will drive the No. 45 full time as Kyle Petty makes the move to the tv booth but Kyle has said in the recent past that he wants to run a few more years.

No. 47? No. 59?, Marcos Ambrose: Marcos Ambrose will run for Rookie of the Year in 2009 with Kingsford and Little Debbie's being the sponsors. Marcos has run very well in the Nationwide Series with a win at Watkins Glen.

No. 84, Scott Speed: Along with the recent announcement that AJ Allmendinger will not return to the car in 2009 came an announcement that Scott Speed will run for Rookie of the Year in it in 2009.

No. 96, Brad Coleman: Looks like Coleman will drive the #96 DLP car full time in 2009 unless the deal falls through or he finds another car. JJ Yeley was let go earlier in the year and now Coleman is sharing the car with Ken Schrader and Joey Lagano.

No. 99, Carl Edwards: No big changes but Aflac has signed on to be the primary sponsor in 2009 replacing Office Depot which went with Tony Stewart on his move to ownership.