Top local stories
Almirola in No. 8 Chevrolet: Tampa native Aric Almirola was bequeathed the No. 8 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt Inc. when partner/mentor Mark Martin opted for Hendrick Motorsports for 2009. Almirola, 24, then survived DEI's announced merger with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Wheldon moves on: St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar champ, had a falling out with owner Chip Ganassi. Wheldon was released from his contract and signed with Panther Racing.
Reutimann improves: Zephyrhills native David Reutimann, 38, made strides in his second full Sprint Cup season, earning the pole in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished the season 22nd (17 spots ahead of last year) and had his first four top 10s.