BK Racing

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Not to be confused with BK Motorsports.
BK Racing
BK Racing.jpg
Owner(s) Ron Devine
Wayne Press
Mike Wheeler[1]
Anthony Marlowe
Base Statesville, North Carolina
Series Sprint Cup Series
Race drivers No. 23 J. J. Yeley
No. 26 Jeb Burton (R)
No. 83 Johnny Sauter
Matt DiBenedetto (R)
Sponsors No. 23 Dr Pepper
No. 26 Livedeal
Estes Express Lines
No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper
Dustless Blasting
Manufacturer Toyota
Debut 2012 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Latest race 2015 FedEx 400 (Dover)
Races competed 226
Race victories 0
Pole positions 0

BK Racing is a stock car racing team, that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team fields the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry for J. J. Yeley, the No. 26 Camry for Jeb Burton, the No. 83 Burger King Camry for Johnny Sauter and Matt DiBenedetto.

Ownership and sponsorship[edit]

BK Racing is owned by a couple of investors who were formerly involved in the ownership of TRG Motorsports Sprint Cup Series team, which closed after the 2011 season. Burger King franchise owner Ron Devine and tomato grower Wayne Press joined Thomas Uberall, former race director of the Red Bull Racing Team, to acquire the assets and race shop of the former Red Bull operation following its closure after the 2011 season.[2][3][4]

Like Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins, principal owner Devine's many Burger King franchises allow him to advertise the brand on the cars when there is no outside sponsor.[2][4][5][6] Prior to the 2012 Daytona 500, Burger King announced a "licensing agreement" with the team, authenticating the paint schemes of the 83 and 93 and the usage of the company's logos, though it is unclear whether or not the company and/or franchisee Devine funds the team. According to a 2013 Autoweek article, the partnership is limited to the licencing agreement, with Burger King not sponsoring the team.[6][7] The Burger King partnership includes the branding of Dr Pepper, a soft drink served at Burger King restaurants. Dr Pepper has appeared as the primary sponsor of the team on various occasions (typically the 93 car), and expanded to a newly renumbered 23 car for 2014 (signifying the drink's 23 flavors).[8]

In May 2014, the team expanded to three cars and added another owner and investor in Anthony Marlowe.[2] Formerly a partner in the recently-exited Swan Racing, Marlowe founded outsourcing company TMone, and is currently the managing partner in Iowa City Capital Partners.[9]

No. 23 Team[edit]

Alex Bowman was signed to drive the 23 car in 2014.

What's now the 23 began as the 93, with David Reutimann driving in the 2012 Daytona 500.[10] Travis Kvapil took over the No. 93 after Daytona and the remainder of the 2012 season,[11] with the exception of one race at Darlington where Reutimann returned to the 93, while Kvapil raced a third #73 entry.[12][13][14] The 93 finished 28th in owner standings,[15] and Kvapil finished 27th in the drivers standings.[16] Kvapil returned to the 93 for the full 2013 season in a new blue scheme (the 83 ran a red car, the two primary colors of the Burger King logo), with Todd Anderson returning as crew chief.[17] Prior to the second Charlotte race in October, Kvapil was arrested for a domestic dispute with his wife. Kvapil was ultimately allowed to drive at Charlotte.[6] Overall, Kvapil fell back to 31st in points,[18] while the 93 slipped to 34th in owner points.[19]

For 2014, up-and-comer Ryan Truex tested the No. 93 at Daytona.[20] Truex would wind up in the 83, and fellow up-and-comer Alex Bowman (who had tested the 83) would take over the renumbered No. 23 to run for Rookie of the Year. Dr Pepper stepped up as the full-time primary sponsor of the car, the No. 23 applying to the soft drink's original 23 flavors.[8][21][22] When Truex's 83 missed the Daytona 500, his sponsor Borla Exhaust moved over to the 23, which Bowman drove to a solid 23rd place finish in his Sprint Cup debut.[23] Houston-based Dustless Blasting came on to sponsor Bowman at Watkins Glen and the second Talladega race.[24] During July and August, BK Racing hosted an effort to field a Bitcoin-sponsored car at Atlanta with a goal of fundraising $100,000.[25] The goal was subsequently listed at $25,000,[26] but failed to raise enough money.[27] In October, DipYourCar.com, a retailer of Plasti Dip automotive finish products, signed to sponsor both the 23 and 83 cars at Martinsville and Homestead.[28] Both cars would promote the film Dumb and Dumber To at Phoenix in November, with Bowman's 23 car featuring the face of Jim Carrey's character Lloyd Christmas.[29] Bowman finished 2014 35th in the driver points,[30] while the No. 23 slipped again to 36th in the owner points.[31]

On January 27, 2015, it was announced that J. J. Yeley, who had been the interim driver of the No. 83 following Ryan Truex's release in late 2014, would be joining the team full-time. It was subsequently revealed that Yeley would be driving the No. 23, with Bowman departing for Tommy Baldwin Racing.[32]

No. 26 Team[edit]

Further information: Swan Racing

On April 23, 2014, during a two week hiatus between the spring Darlington and Richmond races, it was announced that Anthony Marlowe had acquired the No. 26 team from Swan Racing and merged his ownership with BK Racing. The 26 team's driver Cole Whitt was carried over in the transaction, with Marlowe being listed as the owner on the No. 26.[2][33] The team inherited Swan Racing's Speed Stick GEAR sponsorship, and the company proceeded to extend their sponsorship for six additional races starting at the Coca-Cola 600.[2][34] Additional sponsors (that were absent when Whitt and Marlowe were with Swan Racing), came on race by race, leaving only two races to be filled by Burger King logos. Scorpyd Crossbows joined the team for its first two races under the BK Banner.[35] Iowa Chop House partnered with the team at Kansas.[36] Rinnai Water Heaters came on to sponsor the team at Sonoma,[37] then returned for Atlanta Motor Speedway and Loudon.[38] Scorpion Window Film sponsored the car at Daytona in July.[39] Axxess Pharma and their TapouT Muscle Recovery brand signed on for multiple races in June, starting with the first New Hampshire race.[40] Anthony Marlowe's Iowa City Capital Partners came on to back the car at Michigan and Chicagoland. At Watkins Glen, local New York winery Bully Hill Vineyards sponsored the 26.[41] A strong road course racer, Whitt qualified a solid 18th and was running in 19th when his brakes failed entering turn 1, sending him into the distant tire barrier in an eerily similar fashion as Jimmie Johnson's notorious Busch Series crash in 2000.[42]

At Richmond in September, Standard Plumbing Company signed on to sponsor. Uponor would sponsor the fall races at Dover and Martinsville, the latter of which resulted in an 18th place finish. Moen was on the car for the second Kansas race. At Talladega, with Bad Boy Mowers sponsoring, Whitt led his first lap in Sprint Cup competition after staying out under caution. He would go on to post his career-best finish of 15th in the race. Fuelxx was on the hood for the penultimate race at Phoenix, unfortunately Whitt would be caught up in a mid-race wreck after an earlier parts failure. Whitt and the No. 26 finished the season 31st in both driver and owner points.[30][31] Whitt did not return to the No. 26 for the 2015 season,[43] moving to the No. 35 at Front Row Motorsports.

On February 8, 2015 the team announced that former Camping World Truck Series driver Jeb Burton would be the replacement for Whitt and would compete for the series Rookie of the Year award.[44] Burton failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 after being involved in an accident during his Budweiser Duel qualifying race.[45] Burton would qualify for the next five races afterward, before failing to qualify at Texas Motor Speedway. Shortly afterward, Estes Express Lines, who had sponsored Burton at ThorSport Racing in the Truck Series, announced that they would sponsor the No. 26 beginning at Richmond.[46] When he failed to qualify at Richmond, Burton and Estes moved to the 23 for one race, supplanting Yeley and regular BK sponsor Maxim Fantasy Sports.

No. 83 Team[edit]

The #83 driven by David Reutimann at Richmond International Raceway in 2013

After spending the majority of the 2011 season driving Phoenix Racing's 09/51 car, former JR Motorsports driver and Hendrick test driver Landon Cassill was signed to drive the 83 car for the balance of the 2012 season.[47] Cassill drove all 36 races in the number 83, finishing 31st in driver standings while the team finished 32nd in the owners points. Cassill had 14 finishes of 25th or better, including a best finish of 18th three times.[15][16] One of these 18th place finishes came at Kansas Speedway in October, when Cassill was involved in several incidents with then-part-time Cup driver Danica Patrick, eventually leading Patrick to attempt to wreck Cassill, though she ended up collecting severe damage herself.[48]

Cassill departed the team in January 2013 after a new deal could not be achieved for the upcoming season.[49] Cassill later sued the team and principal owner Ron Devine for unpaid winnings and salary in excess of $205,000, in addition to Cassill's claim that he was misinformed about his employment status with the team until January 16 of that year. Meanwhile, owner Devine stated that Cassill's demands to be the team's number-one driver led contract negotiations to go sour, while claiming teammates Travis Kvapil and David Reutimann were content with sharing two rides among three drivers. Cassill ultimately signed with Hillman-Circle Sport LLC to be their primary driver.[50][51]

For 2013, David Reutimann, who had driven the number 73 for BK Racing in select races during the 2012 season (when Danica Patrick was driving the 10), replaced Cassill in the red No. 83 for the 2013 season with Pat Tryson as the team's crew chief.[17][52] The 83 dropped to 36th in the owner points,[19] while Reutimann finished 33rd in driver points,[18] the lowest ranked driver to run all 36 races. Reutimann and the team mutually parted ways after the season.[53]

2013 Nationwide ROTY runner-up Alex Bowman tested the No. 83 at Daytona testing in January 2014.[20] Bowman moved over to the new 23 team, while former MWR and JGR development driver Ryan Truex was signed to drive the 83 during the 2014 season and run for Rookie of the Year.[21] In January, California-based Borla Exhaust was signed to a five race sponsorship, sporting a unique black paint scheme with flame-emitting exhaust pipes adorning the sides of the car.[54] The flames were retained even in races where usual sponsor Burger King was on the car. VooDoo BBQ & Grill returned to the team for the spring races at Richmond and Talladega.[55] Truex's rookie season was a struggle, as he missed three races including the Daytona 500 and was marred by crashes and mechanical failures that led to 8 DNFs.[56] When running, the 83 was often the slowest of the three BK cars, with an average finish of 36.3.[57] The high point of his season was at Richmond, where qualifying was cancelled and Truex started 8th based on practice speeds, though he would finish 31st. Truex was taken to the hospital after a hard practice crash at Michigan in August.[58] J.J. Yeley replaced Truex in the race, finishing 30th.[59] At New Hampshire in September, Truex was entered in the race, but was pulled from the car on the Friday prior to the race, with the team no citing a reason for the driver change. Former BK driver Travis Kvapil, scheduled to drive the #93, was moved into the 83 for the race.[60] Prior to the Dover race the following weekend, several reports surfaced that Truex had been dismissed from the ride after his name was once again left off the entry list, and Truex ultimately parted ways with the team.[57] Chatter from within the team stated that Truex was giving unsatisfactory feedback to the team, while Nick DeGroot of Motorsport.com tweeted that the team owed Truex "a good amount of money."[61][62]

Owner Ron Devine stated that Truex's release was an attempt "to put a little more seniority in the car,"[57] with Kvapil running the 83 again at Dover. Yeley stepped back in starting at Kansas, running the rest of the season in the 83. In October, DipYourCar.com, a retailer of Plasti Dip automotive finish products, signed to sponsor both the 23 and 83 cars at Martinsville and Homestead.[28] The two cars would promote the Dumb and Dumber To film at Phoenix in November; Yeley's 83 car featured the face of Jeff Daniels' Harry Dunne character, and Yeley sported a firesuit mocked up as a powder-blue dress suit.[29] The 83 would end the season 41st in owner points, lowest among cars that attempted every race in 2014.[31] Truex's partial season resulted in a driver rank of 39th.[30]

In February, the team announced that Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter would attempt the Daytona 500 in the car, with Doug Richert as crew chief.[63][64] It was later revealed that Sauter would run a select amount of races that don't interfere with his truck schedule. Former Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto signed to drive the car beginning at Atlanta.[45] Dustless Blasting, which sponsored the 23 car in two races in 2014, would return for all four restrictor plate races including the Daytona 500.[63] DiBenedetto missed his first two attempts at Atlanta and Las Vegas, making his series debut at Phoenix.

No. 93 Team[edit]

The current #93 team began as BK's third car, a part-time entry numbered 73. At the 2012 Bojangles' Southern 500, David Reutimann drove the #93 car with his regular ride at Tommy Baldwin Racing being occupied by Danica Patrick. The team fielded the additional #73 car for full-time driver Travis Kvapil, qualifying 33rd and finishing 32nd. On May 21, 2012, BK Racing announced that they would run Reutimann in the #73 in the eight remaining races he was not scheduled to drive the #10 for TBR, beginning at the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte.[65] The #73, however, failed to make the 600. Reutimann later decided to take further weekends off that he was not driving for Tommy Baldwin, and the #73 was not run for the rest of the year.[52]

The team announced that this team would return on a part-time basis in 2014, bearing the #93 due to the team's previous #93 changing to #23.[21] The car was driven by Morgan Shepherd for the 2014 Daytona 500 in collaboration with Pat MacDonald, with sponsorship from the Support Military Foundation.[66][67] However, Shepherd failed to qualify.[68] Though the team had already expanded to three full-time cars with the addition of the #26, the #93 returned later in the year as a fourth BK car. Veteran Mike Bliss drove at both Kentucky and Loudon with Dr. Pepper on the car.[69] Johnny Sauter then drove the car with Dr. Pepper at Pocono in August, and J. J. Yeley drove a Burger King-branded #93 at Richmond in September. At Loudon in September, Travis Kvapil was scheduled to return to BK's #93, but moved over to the #83 and was replaced with Clay Rogers. Rogers returned to the car again at Martinsville. Except for the Daytona 500, the part time car was a start-and-park ride used to fill the sponsorship gaps on the other three cars. Since the team failed to qualify in its first attempt and its next three appearances were late-entries, team had no owner points prior to Richmond in September.[70]

For 2015, Sprint Cup Series rookie Matt DiBenedetto will race the 93 car part time while running part time in the 83 car sharing that car with Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter, driving the 93 in races that Sauter is in the 83.


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External links[edit]