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Whitt To Drive JR Motorsports’ No. 88 In 2012

[1]JR Motorsports has signed Cole Whitt to drive the team’s No. 88 Nationwide Series Chevy in 2012, the team announced [2]. Whitt comes to JRM from Red Bull Racing, where he drove in the Camping World Truck Series last season, finishing ninth in points with one pole, two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 88 last season, left the team to drive Richard Petty Motorsports’ legendary No. 43 Ford [3] in the Sprint Cup Series.

Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr said:

Cole is the guy we wanted, and we’re lucky to get him. He’s got raw, untapped talent, but we are most impressed with his ambition. I sought advice and input from people I respect in the industry, and the overwhelming consensus was that Cole has the potential to do great things in this sport.

The signing of Whitt completes JRM’s driver lineup for 2012, with Danica Patrick driving the No. 7 and Dale Earnhardt Jr driving select races in the No. 5.

Whitt said:

This is a big opportunity for me, and I’m happy to be a part of the JR Motorsports team. I’m grateful to Dale, Kelley and everyone at JR Motorsports for giving me this chance. It’s an honor to work with the Eurys, and I will do everything in my power to put this No. 88 team where it belongs in Victory Lane.

In other JRM news, the team signed crew chief Bruce Cook to serve in the same role for the No. 5 Chevy. Cook joins JRM after serving as crew chief for Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 2 CWTS Chevy in 2011. That team won the owner’s championship in the CWTS. Cook helped the team win six races this season. He also was the winning crew chief for the N’wide season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, with driver Tony Stewart.