A list of drivers who were on the move for 2012:
Allmendinger, 30, moved to Penske Racing after three seasons with Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger has made 152 career starts in five years for second-tier teams, and this is his best opportunity for success.
"Allmendinger in that Penske car -- I've just got a feeling that that's going to be a good combination," said ESPN analyst Ray Evernham, a former team owner and crew chief for whom Allmendinger ran five races in 2008.
"I don't think anybody is going to be surprised when AJ wins, but I do think he's going to win more than one race. It'll be my opinion he'll make his first venture into the Chase. I think AJ has got a ton of talent, and people have known about him for years. They've seen him do the driving. I just think that this year is going to be a breakout year for him. . . . He and Brad Keselowski are going to be a pretty tough combination over at Penske."
Busch, 33, departed Penske after a volatile six years and was signed by Phoenix Racing, a low-budget operation. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion, Busch has joined a team with one Sprint Cup win: the spring race at Talladega in 2009.
"It would be great if Kurt Busch and (owner) James Finch can make a good pair and good showing on a weekly basis," said ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett, a former Sprint Cup champion. "It could be a little bit of a struggle for him for what he's been used to.
"We know there are going to be certain places just like (Daytona) where they can have a huge impact on what happens. Can they carry that on to Phoenix and Vegas? I think it will take some time to build that, but there's a good mix there. Hopefully Kurt can showcase the talents we know he has on the racetrack."
Kahne, 31, joins the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports stable. Kahne, like Allmendinger, has spent his career with second-tier teams, but he made the Chase in 2009 and has 12 career wins, including the penultimate race of the season last year in Phoenix for a team that was closing its doors.
"For the first time in his career, Kasey is with an organization that is stable," said Hall of Fame driver and Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip. "For the first time, he knows where he's going to be for a while. He has all the resources. . . . The reason there were so many crew chief/driver changes in the off season is chemistry. You've got to have a crew chief and a driver who can communicate and fix things and work together, and Kenny Francis and Kasey Kahne have that. That's one of the best driver/crew chief combinations in the garage.
"You put him in Hendrick Motorsports equipment and the resources they have, I'm going to be badly fooled if that young man doesn't show what he's made of. He's been a winner everywhere he's been."
Martin, 52, will drive for Michael Waltrip Racing on a part-time basis, just as he drove limited schedules in 2007-08 before joining Hendrick Motorsports for three years. He's thrilled with the arrangement.
"Do you see this big old smile on my face?" said the often-acerbic Martin. "I'm thrilled. I had the time of my life with Hendrick Motorsports, but this is a new challenge from an organization standpoint -- a lot of new faces.
"I was in a position where I got to choose the races and how many, so it's just exactly where I want to be in life right now. . . . I'm expecting to do a lot of smiling this year." Bowyer thinks he can put his new team in the groove.