Monday, February 7, 2011
Point swaps ensure 4 into Daytona 500
By David Newton
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne, Steve Wallace and Grand-Am driver Andy Lally are guaranteed spots in the Feb. 20 Daytona 500 after offseason point swaps with top-35 teams from the 2010 Sprint Cup season.
Menard will drive the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing entry with 35th-place points earned by the No. 71 at TRG Motorsports last season. Thomas Pumpelly, who was a partner with TRG, divested himself from that organization and took points associated with the 71 with him to become an equity partner at RCR.
Offseason points swaps are allowed by NASCAR if someone from the ownership group of an organization moves into ownership with another team.
TRG will enter Lally in the No. 71 with points earned by Menard in the No. 98 at Richard Petty Motorsports last season.
This was made possible because
TRG owner Kevin Buckler has joined RPM on the business side.
Menard was unable to transfer the 23rd-place points he accumulated at RPM last season because that technically would have made Richard Petty an owner at RCR, putting RCR over the four-car limit with its four cars and Petty's two.
Bayne will drive the No. 21 Wood Brothers II, LLC, entry with 28th-place points earned by Elliott Sadler in the No. 19 last season at RPM. Richard Petty will be listed as a partial owner.
RPM went from a four-car to a two-car operation during the offseason, eliminating the 98 and 19.
Wallace will drive a No. 77 Toyota fielded by Rusty Wallace Racing with 30th-place points accumulated by Sam Hornish Jr. in the Penske Racking No. 77 Dodge last season.
Roger Penske formed a partnership with Wallace to make this possible after Penske was unable to acquire sponsorship for Hornish this season.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.