NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Changes: Where Your Driver Will Be for 2012

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2012

NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Changes: Where Your Driver Will Be for 2012

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    With less than a month until the start of the season, it's safe to say that the short offseason we had this year is officially done. And like always, with the offseason (and late season), comes driver changes.

    While most of these changes aren't done quietly, it's hard to keep track of who will be in what car come 2012. So in the interest of making it easier for everyone, here are some of the driver changes for this year.

    Most on here are high profile, and I'm sure I have missed some so feel free to add any driver changes you may know of in the comment section below.

Mark Martin

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    Mark Martin has gone back to driving part time this season and will share his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing with Michael Waltrip.

    Martin is scheduled to drive the No. 55 Aaron’s car for 25 races in 2012 and will also be in the car in 2013.

    Mark Martin has been driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports car for the past few seasons.

Kasey Kahne

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    The year Kasey Kahne fans have been waiting for. He­'s finally in his car at Hendrick Motorsports.

    Kahne signed the deal with the team during the 2010 season, but due to the four-car limit, had to drive for Red Bull last year.

    Kahne will be in the No. 5 at HMS with Kenny Francis at the helm and Farmers Insurance on the car.

Clint Bowyer

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    Clint Bowyer separates from Richard Childress Racing this year to go over to Michael Waltrip Racing.

    Bowyer will drive full-time in the No. 15 car with Brian Pattie as the crew chief for the Five Hour Energy car.

    Bowyer’s move stirred up some old news and even some jokes from owner and driver from 2008 when Bowyer made a comment about Waltrip being the “worst driver in NASCAR, period."

Kurt Busch

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    In possibly the most controversial move of the offseason, Kurt Busch has moved to the No. 51 car at Phoenix Racing after walking away from his high-profile ride.

    Phoenix Racing won at Talladega with Brad Keselowski a few years ago and looks to be competitive this year with Busch in the seat.

AJ Allmendinger

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    With Kurt Busch out of the No. 22, recent Rolex 24 at Daytona winner A.J. Allmendinger will be moving into the Roger Penske car.

    "He was a great open-wheel driver," Penske told USA Today. "He beat Will Power a couple of times, and you don't beat Will Power if you're not a pretty good shoe. We had a couple other people we were looking at (but) knowing what we could give him and how our sponsors were very happy to have A.J., it was a whole package."

    Dinger leaves the No. 43 Richard Petty car.

Aric Almirola

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    When Allmendinger left the No. 43, Richard Petty Motorsports picked up Aric Almirola.

    Almirola finished second in the Truck Series in 2010 and fourth in Nationwide last year.

    Almirola isn’t a stranger to the Cup series with 35 previous starts and one top-five finish.

    The primary sponsor on the No. 43 will be Smithfield Foods.

Danica Patrick and David Reutimann

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    Danica Patrick is moving to NASCAR full time with a part-time gig in the Cup series, including the Daytona 500.

    With an owner-points twist that was announced this week, Patrick will be driving the No. 10 car in the 500 no matter how she runs during qualifying.

    Danica will be running a limited schedule in the Cup series but will be full time in the Nationwide series.

    As Danica's schedule is limited, David Reutimann will also be in the No. 10 car this season in an interesting agreement between Stewart-Haas and Tommy Baldwin Racing.