Penske folds the #12 Winston Cup team

Motorsport.com -- Roger Penske merges three teams into two for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup series. Penske Racing South announced that their effort next year will be with only two cars; not three. The two drivers that will stay with the team...

Motorsport.com -- Roger Penske merges three teams into two for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup series. Penske Racing South announced that their effort next year will be with only two cars; not three.

The two drivers that will stay with the team are Rusty Wallace driving the #2 Miller Ford Taurus and Ryan Newman in the #02 Alltel Ford Taurus. Mike Wallace, who stepped into the #12 Mobil 1 in October of this year when Jeremy Mayfield was released, is now out of a job.

Newman drove the #02 Alltel Ford at seven races in 2001 and finished 49th in the final points.

"I will say one thing, Penske Racing lived up to their end of the bargain on this deal," said an unhappy but understanding Mike Wallace.

Wally McCarty, Marketing Director for Penske Racing said, "Let me tell you something about Mike - he is the epitome of a class act. He has not only proven to the racing world what he can do if you put him in good equipment, he was also a great catalyst for motivation the team."

Penske will try to switch the number on the 02 car to the number 12 for 2002 to protect owner's points. "We have all intentions of trying to get the No. 12 on the car Ryan will be driving," McCarty said. "That will be up to NASCAR."

The three teams consolidation into two teams was purely a business decision according to McCarty. "Our primary sponsor, Exxon Mobil Corp., is looking at reallocating some of their marketing dollars and to refocus how they are going to participate in NASCAR, said McCarty. "They're not going anywhere, as they will be associate sponsors on our two team cars."

Regarding the employees of Penske Racing South -- that decision has yet to be made.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , NASCAR-CUP