Category:Auto Racing
Posted on: June 2, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2010 5:46 pm

Could Earnhardt Jr. be on the move?

There's an interesting Silly Season read from Lee Spencer that got me thinking.

While the big dominoes have been taken off the market (Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne), there's still the question of just where Kahne will be driving next season as his contract to drive the 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports doesn't go into effect until 2012.

When the news of the Kahne was first announced, most people assumed he drive a third car at Stewart Haas, which receives engines and technical support from Hendrick. But with performance declining this season, Stewart Haas may not be ready take on a third entry.

There doesn't "appear" to be an opening at Hendrick in 2011, but there seems to be a growing feeling that something could shake down with either Mark Martin or Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Martin insists he's not going anywhere, but maybe if Rick Hendrick asks nice enough, he'll step aside.

Let's not mince words though, anywhere else it would be the driver of the 88 car that would be on the hot seat. While Earnhardt Jr. may still be NASCAR's most popular driver, I think even his most ardent supporters will admit the marriage with Hendrick has been a huge disappointment.

Perhaps a union with Richard Childress, where his father enjoyed much success, will cure what ails him. Watching Earnhardt Jr. week-to-week is like watching an episode of Lost -- it leaves me confused. I can't understand his steep decline in performance over the past few years. It has to be mental. I believe he has championship talent, but somewhere along the way he lost his mojo.

-- Brian De Los Santos

Posted on: June 1, 2010 3:52 pm

Red Bull swaps crew chiefs, personnel

With Brian Vickers shelved for the rest of the season, Red Bull officials have decided to do a little experimenting among its two teams. Effective immediately, Jimmy Elledge will leave the 82 car to work with Vickers' replacement Casey Mears in the No. 83 car. Ryan Pemberton moves to the 82 car where he'll work with Scott Speed.

Supporting personnel will also switch teams.

Mears and Elledge previously worked together at Chip Ganassi Racing (2003-2005), earning two poles, four top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes. Since taking over as Vickers' replacement, Mears has finishes of 22nd (Dover) and 29th (Charlotte). He finished 16th in the All-Star race.

Speed is currently 26th in points. In 53 career Cup starts he has just two top 10s.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: June 1, 2010 12:50 pm

Malsam leaves, Busch shuts down truck team

With Tayler Malsam accepting an offer to driver the No. 10 car for Braun Racing in the Nationwide Series, it offered Kyle Busch a perfect opportunity to shut down one of his two Truck Series teams.

Malsam had been driving the No. 56 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports. In seven starts, his best finish was 13th.

Because of sponsorship issues, Busch had basically been keeping the team afloat out of his own pocket.

Posted on: May 30, 2010 5:41 pm

Geoff Bodine, 61, will try to qualify at Pocono

Tommy Baldwin is grasping at every straw possible, turning to Geoff Bodine, 61, to fill the seat of his No. 36 car at Pocono.

Bodine hasn't qualified for a Cup race since 2004. He finished 26th in a Truck Series race last March. Harry Gant holds the record for oldest Cup winner (52). Even if Bodine qualifies for the race at Pocono, it's unlikely he'll top the record as Baldwin's team has been mostly a start-and-park operation.


Posted on: May 26, 2010 10:43 am

Drivers play musical chairs at Front Row

Front Row Motorsports is shifting its drivers and sponsors around. Effective immediatley Kevin Conway will shift from the No. 37 car to the No. 34; David Gilliland goes from 38 to 37; and Travis Kvapil goes from 34 to 38.

The 34 car is currently 32nd in owner points (953 points), the 38 is 35th (899) and the 37 is just outside the top 35 in 36th (897). That's going to put the pressure on Gilliland this weekend to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 on speed.

Complete press release follows:

Statesville, N.C. (May 26, 2010) - Using a unified approach to give its three-car team the best opportunities to continue to succeed as a whole, Front Row Motorsports announced changes to its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series line-up effective this week for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. 
The team is moving Kevin Conway and the ExtenZe Racing sponsorship to the No. 34 Ford Fusion, David Gilliland and the Taco Bell program to the No. 37 Ford Fusion, and Travis Kvapil and the Long John Silver's program to the No. 38 Ford Fusion.  The changes are aimed to optimize all three teams' ability to score more points and strengthen the organization.
The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has been one of continued growth for Front Row Motorsports.  The team announced at the beginning of the season the expansion to a three-car team with backing from Ford Racing.  The team hired 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil and Nationwide Series winner David Gilliland to take lead roles.  Raybestos Rookie of the Year leading candidate Kevin Conway was also hired to complete the team based in Statesville.
"I'm proud of how we've performed this year - our first year with three full-time cars," said Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports.  "We are not a powerhouse three-car team, but we work as an organization to grow together as one.  Our teams have to be unified to be stronger instead of operating as three separate groups. 
"Moving our drivers, along with their respective sponsors, to different cars gives us the best chance to succeed as an entire team.  It has been this attitude and strategic growth plan that has allowed us to become the team we are today."
All three Front Row cars have made the starting lineup of all 12 Sprint Cup Series races in the 2010 season.  The team is working with potential sponsors now to become stronger and take the next step to become a top-25 team.

Posted on: May 22, 2010 4:22 pm

Harvick has new deal, now needs new sponsor

Kevin Harvick has signed his contract extension with Richard Childress Racing (READ THE FULL STORY ).

Now he needs a sponsor with Shell/Pennzoil having previously announced a move to Penske Racing where it will sponsor Kurt Busch. Two of the big sponsors that RCR is reportedly in talks with include Budweiser and UPS.

Budweiser's deal with Richard Petty Motorsports is up at the end of the season. It could follow Kahne, but it seems to me he has never really fit the Budweiser brand the way that Dale Earnhardt Jr. did before him. Harvick seems to be a better fit, but reports that if Bud does join RCR, it's possible that it will be as a sponsor for Clint Bowyer with the General Mills sponsorship shifting to Harvick.

I'm not quite sure what's up with UPS. I know they can't be happy with David Ragan, but they may be locked in at Roush Racing for another season unless they have an escape clause. UPS has been searching for a top-tier driver to sponsor ever since Dale Jarrett retired. They were never quite sold on David Reutimann so they moved to Roush, where they thought had an up-and-comer in Ragan. But Ragan has fallen well short of expectations.

-- Brian De Los Santos

Posted on: May 21, 2010 3:03 pm

Harvick reportedly extends contract at RCR

Entering this season, most people believed that there was no chance Kevin Harvick would be with RCR next year (and I must include myself among most people). But it appears that Harvick and Richard Childress have worked out their differences and a new deal could be announced on All-Star Saturday.

Harvick currently leads the standings by 69 points over Kyle Busch.

Posted on: May 21, 2010 2:55 pm

Vickers out rest of season, Mears likely fill in

Brian Vickers made it official that he will miss the rest of the season after being diagnozed with blood clots in his lungs and left leg. READ FULL STORY

Casey Mears , who filled for Vickers in the 83 car at Dover and will do the same for the All-Star Race, is expected to remain the permanent replacement, though he may be lifted at the road-course events.

Mears started the season with Keyed-Up Motorsports, but after making just one of the season's first five races, he hooked up with Tommy Baldwin Racing. He made one race with Baldwin before he was asked to drive in place of Vickers at Dover where he earned his best finish of the season, 22nd.

Vickers had the most successful season of his career in 2009 with a win, four top five and 13 top 10s. He also made the Chase for the first time.
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