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Phoenix Racing gearing up for many changes in 2013
As the clock winds down on 2012, Phoenix Racing, based in Spartanburg, is looking ahead to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, and it's going to be a season full of changes.

“One of the biggest changes is the change in the Chevy body styles,” Hendersonville's Steve Barkdoll, general manager of Phoenix Racing, said. “Sprint Cup is going to the Chevy SS and Nationwide to the Chevy Camaro. For a small team like us, that creates a lot more work, and our guys in the shop are doing an incredible job. They've been working non-stop to get ready for the season, and we've already got a couple of new cars in the shop that look really sharp.”

Just like last year, Phoenix Racing will be using multiple drivers.

“For Daytona, we'll be going with Regan Smith, who also drives for Dale Jr.'s Nationwide team. Since Regan is committed to the Nationwide Series, he won't be able to run a full Cup schedule with us. We'll be looking to other drivers throughout the year, including A.J. Allmendinger again.”

Last year, 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch was Phoenix Racing's main driver, competing in 29 races in Sprint Cup and four in Nationwide, earning the team a win at the Nationwide race in July at Richmond.

Allmendinger competed in the final four Cup races, and two other drivers also took the wheel for owner James Finch last year: Smith for two and David Reutimann for one.  We are going to start off the season like we plan on running a full Cup schedule. That's what we're hoping to do. We're also planning as of right now to run at least six or seven Nationwide races,” Barkdoll said. “We're hoping to have some success early, and I think we will because these new body styles are going to level the playing field. With that success, I believe we'll see more sponsorship opportunities.”

Up next for the team is a trip to Daytona for testing on Jan. 10-12. The season-opening Daytona 500 will be held a little more than a month later on Feb. 24.

The team was able to run a full schedule (36 races) last season, but it's still searching for enough sponsors to do the same this year. So far, the team has enough sponsors to compete in 18 races in 2013, Finch said on Friday in an interview with News Channel 7 in Panama City Beach, Fla. GoUpstate.com

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