DAYTONA BEACH — Richard Petty was feeling a little bait-and-switched on Friday. The sponsors that Richard Petty Motorsports have been courting for the No. 44 Dodge felt even more so, he said.
NASCAR's recalibration of owner points for the start of the 2009 season put Petty driver A.J. Allmendinger 36th, one spot below the cutoff for automatic entry into the first five races of the season. Clint Bowyer's No. 33 Chevrolet — a new fourth car at Richard Childress Racing — and Sam Hornish's No. 77 Dodge garnered top-35 spots by bringing in points-possessing former car owners as partners. Bowyer's car will now be listed under former team owner Bobby Ginn, and Bill Davis has formed a partnership with Roger Penske to own Hornish's car.
RPM has only an eight-race deal with Valvoline and is courting sponsors, a less-arduous process if the team is guaranteed of making races. Petty said NASCAR told him at the end of last season that the points of the No. 10 Gillett Evernham Dodge (now applied to the No. 44 after Petty merged with GEM) would be in the top 35.
"It puts us in a bad situation with a sponsor, because when we went in, that was part of our selling point," Petty said. "All of a sudden, we don't (make the top 35). They blame us as an organization for leading them down a path."
Allmendinger failed to qualify on time for the Daytona 500 in his first two attempts at Red Bull Racing.
GOOD PIECE: Buzzie Reutimann should roll out a pretty formidable car for the Open Wheel Modifieds races Monday at East Bay's Winternationals. His son, Sprint Cup driver David Reutimann, and fellow Zephryhills native Brian Pattie — crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 Dodge at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing — spent the winter assembling the car as a hobby.
"We did all the sheet metal and all that," said Reutimann, who hopes to pop in one night next week to watch his 67-year-old father race. "That was fun."
LEFT OUT: Mark Martin said NASCAR's new format for the season-opening nonpoints Bud Shootout will put him immediately behind in preparing for his first Daytona 500 at Hendrick Motorsports.
"I feel really left out because there's 28 cars, more than ever, and this is the first time in 20 years that I haven't been in that race and we won't even hit the racetrack in race trim until Wednesday," he said.
Before this season, pole winners from the previous season and past Shootout winners filled all the spots for the race. Now, the top six points finishers from each manufacturer the previous season, plus a wild card from each, make the race.
SPARK PLUGS: Shootout pole-sitter Paul Menard spun late in the second Shootout practice on Friday, collecting Scott Speed. Menard's crew opted to fix the No. 98 Ford to retain his starting spot. There were no other incidents aside from Jeff Burton's engine failure and Kasey Kahne's brush of the wall. Jimmie Johnson was fastest with a best lap of 192.620 mph. … Daytona Beach native Alli Owens qualified second for tonight's ARCA race. She has a 10-race deal with D'Hondt Motorsports.
|Today||10:30 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice; 1:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice; 4:15 p.m.: ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 (80 laps, 200 miles); 8:10 p.m.: Sprint Cup Bud Shootout (70 laps, 175 miles)|
|Sunday||1:10 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500 qualifying|
|Wednesday||11 a.m.: Sprint Cup practice; noon: NASCAR trucks practice; 2 p.m.: Sprint Cup, final Gatorade Duels practice; 3 p.m.: Nationwide practice; 5 p.m.: NASCAR trucks practice|
|Thursday||9:30 a.m.: Nationwide final practice; 11:15 a.m.: NASCAR trucks final practice; 2 p.m.: Sprint Cup Gatorade Duels (two Daytona 500 qualifying races; each race 60 laps, 150 miles); 6:10 p.m.: NASCAR trucks qualifying|
|Friday||1:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice; 3:10 p.m.: Nationwide qualifying; 8 p.m.: NASCAR trucks NextEra Energy Resources 250 (100 laps, 250 miles)|
|Feb. 14||11 a.m.: Sprint Cup final Daytona 500 practice; 1:15 p.m.: Nationwide Camping World 300 (120 laps, 300 miles)|
|Feb. 15||3:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500 (200 laps, 500 miles)|