Posted on: April 22, 2010 5:01 pm
In contrast to an espn.com report that said Kevin Harvick was negotiating a new deal with Richard Childress Racing, possibly with Budweiser as sponsor, SI.com's Tim Tuttle quotes a source that says Harvick has burned all his bridges at RCR and the chances of Childress and Harvick parting ways was close to 100 percent.
So who do you believe? I usually have a good radar on such things, but I'm not so sure with this situation. I tend to believe he'll leave -- though I'm not sold Stewart-Haas will be his landing spot. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if in a couple of weeks it's announced that Harvick is back with RCR.
Everybody assumes that Kasey Kahne is bound for Stewart-Haas for a season because of Tony Stewart's alliance with Rick Hendrick, but I think that would hurt Harvick's chances of coming aboard. I don't know that Stewart's ready to expand to four teams. I think three teams is his ceiling right now -- it has to be Kahne or Harvick but not both unless Stewart's receiving a serious infusion of cash from somewhere or Ryan Newman is let go. Sponsorship hasn't exactly come easy for the 39 car.
-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:11 am
Edited on: April 21, 2010 3:52 pm
Penske Racing confirmed on Wednesday that it will indeed shift Kurt Busch to the 22 car next season with sponsorship from Shell/Pennzoil.
Brad Keselowski, in his first year with Penske in the 12 car, will take over Busch's No. 2 ride, which is expected to retain Miller Lite as its sponsor.
With Shell aboard Busch's 22 car in 2011, Sam Hornish Jr. can say good-bye to competing sponsor Mobil 1 on his 77 car. A three-time IndyCar Series champion, the jump to NASCAR has failed to result in much success. How much longer can Penske possibly give him to learn the ropes? Reportedly, the team has no plans to part ways with Hornish, but I'm not totally sold he'll be back. Though no doubt Hornish doesn't want to give up, he may be better off returning to the IRL.
Over at Richard Childress Racing, the departure of Shell wouldn't seem to be good news for the retention of Kevin Harvick, but the two parties remain in negotiations.
With Kasey Kahne bolting Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the year, Budweiser is in play, but there are a lot of organizations that would love to grab that sponsorship. One of those organizations is Stewart Haas, with whom Harvick has been strongly linked as a possible destination. But some believe Kahne is bound for Stewart Haas until he moves to Hendrick in 2012. Does Stewart Haas have room for four teams?
And of course Mobil 1 is now in play too, but not sure sponsoring Harvick would be in their best interest after he has spent the past three years sponsored by rival Shell.
How strongly Harvick feels about staying in the Chevrolet family could impact his decision because I believe Toyota's Red Bull or Michael Waltrip Racing would love to bring him into the fold. Joe Gibbs Racing seems intent on staying with three teams.
And what about Harvick as a possible replacement for Hornish?
I do think the longer the Harvick situation drags on, the bigger the distraction it will become.
-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: April 20, 2010 10:17 pm
It appears sponsor shuffling will land a new sponsor and number for Kurt Busch, though he'll remain with Penske Racing.
Sources are reporting that Shell/Pennzoil will leave Richard Childress Racing in 2011 and join Penske Racing as sponsor of Busch who will reportedly step out of the Miller Lite Dodge.
The potential deal will leave RCR without a sponsor for its No. 29 entry as team owner Richard Childress now attempts to re-sign the driver as well as finding a replacement sponsor.
There were other reports that Harvick was in discussions with Stewart-Haas Racing and could join that team as a third entry with Budweiser sponsorship, a move that would split the brewery from its current contract with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Busch will slide over to a No. 22 Dodge entry in 2011 that will carry the Shell/Pennzoil colors with teammate Brad Keselowski stepping into the familiar No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.
Shell's arrival comes as Mobil1 departs the Penske organization. The company is currently the sponsor of Sam Hornish, Jr. and the No. 77 Dodge.
-- Pete Pistone
Posted on: April 19, 2010 12:48 pm
Scene Daily reports that Richard Childress is working hard to forge a new deal with Kevin Harvick , who is in the final year of his contract.
“Kevin and I are working hard together to stay together,” Childress said Sunday prior to the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “Our plan right now is to stay together and our plan right now is to be together.
“Anything can change, but right now we’re planning on racing together. We’ve been talking. We haven’t signed nothing yet. But we’re definitely talking in the right direction for him to be a big part of RCR and [keeping Kevin Harvick Inc.] all together.”
If Harvick were to leave RCR, most rumors have linked Harvick with a third car at Stewart-Haas. But with the news that Kasey Kahne is in need of a ride for 2011 before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, most believe Kahne will wind up at Stewart-Haas for 2011.
Joe Gibbs Racing can't seem to commit to a fourth team which is why it didn't get into the bidding for Kahne.
But aside from Stewart-Haas, there could still be plenty of suitors for Harvick's services should he leave RCR. Penske and Earnhardt-Ganassi still have room for expansion. Red Bull reportedly wanted to throw big bucks at Harvick the last time he was a free agent. Michael Waltrip Racing is always looking to make a big splash. Roush is full, but you have to wonder how much more patience it will have with David Ragan.
In the end, things should work out just fine for Harvick.
-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: April 14, 2010 3:17 pm
Just as quikly as he lost his ride at Tommy Baldwin Racing, Mike Bliss found a ride with Phoenix Racing, replacing Aric Almirola in the 09 car.
"We missed a couple of races, and last week (at Phoenix) obviously didn't go too good," Bliss told Dave Moody on Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway.
"I did a lot of thinking about what I thought was wrong with the car, and honestly I wondered for a while if it was me. I had a meeting with Tommy Baldwin on Monday, and obviously didn't feel very good about the way that meeting went. The ironic thing is that for the third time in my career, James Finch called before I was hardly even out the door to offer me a job."
Phoenix Racing has ostensibly been a start and park team, but may try to run a full race at Talladega where Brad Keselowski pulled off the biggest surprise -- and one of the most watched highlights -- of 2009.
As for TBR's 36 car, Johnny Sauter is scheduled to drive at Texas and Talladega.
Posted on: April 13, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2010 9:55 pm
Kasey Kahne has signed a deal to drive the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2012. READ MORE
Of course that leaves his plans for 2011 somewhat open-ended. Mark Martin is signed to drive the 5 car for Hendrick through 2011. Speculation is that in 2011 Kahne could drive a third car for Stewart Haas, which receives engines and support from Hendrick Motorsports.
And what would that mean for Kevin Harvick , who many believe has one foot out the door at Richard Childress Racing with an eye on a ride with his buddy Stewart. Harvick started the season with four consecutive top 10s, but has finished no better than 11th in the past three races.
You have to wonder how much life is left in Richard Petty Motorsports. Kahne was only there as a result of a merger between Petty and Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. Will the organization be able to lure another top talent like Kahne? A shake of my Magic 8-Ball reveals "Outlook not so good."
-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: April 13, 2010 1:32 pm
After just one top 10 in five races in JR Motorsports No. 88 Nationwide Series car, Kelly Bires has been released. Jamie McMurray will fill in for at least nine events.
Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 13, 2010) – JR Motorsports will undergo a driver change to its No. 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series team effective this weekend when the series races at Texas Motor Speedway, general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The organization has released 25-year-old Kelly Bires from his contractual driving duties of the No. 88 Chevrolet. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonalds Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, has agreed to a deal that puts him in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevy for nine races. Those races include the six upcoming Nationwide Series events – Texas (April 17), Talladega (April 24), Richmond (April 30), Darlington (May 7), Dover (May 15) and Charlotte (May 30) – plus Chicagoland (July 9), Atlanta (Sept. 4) and the return trip to Charlotte (Oct. 15). Hellmann’s will be the primary sponsor in all but two of those races, and the Suave Men brand will be featured on the No. 88 at Chicagoland Speedway.
A native of Joplin, Mo., McMurray is the reigning Daytona 500 champion. He is a seven-time winner in the Nationwide Series with 27 top-fives, 59 top-10s, and three pole awards. No driver decisions for the No. 88 have been determined beyond McMurray’s nine races.
“We are extremely appreciative of Kelly Bires and wish him the best,” Kelley Earnhardt said. “Internally, it was evident the chemistry that is imperative for us to succeed in this highly competitive industry was simply not there. That is the fault of no one person. We owe it to our fans and sponsors to make necessary adjustments in an effort to put our best product on the track, and we’ll continue evaluating our progress until we are confident that our full potential is being reached.”
Under the direction of crew chief Tony Eury Sr., the No. 88 team has finished third in the Nationwide Series point standings each of the past two seasons, accumulating six total victories. In six races this season, the team has one top-10 finish (seventh at Auto Club Speedway). Bires competed in six races for JRM dating back to last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He raced the No. 88 in five of the six Nationwide Series events this year, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The alteration to the No. 88 team does not change plans for the No. 7 team, which presently is to run the full Nationwide Series schedule with multiple drivers. Landon Cassill began a part-time stint last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, becoming the third driver this season to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolets prepared by crew chief and co-owner Tony Eury Jr. He will race the car this weekend at Texas. Danica Patrick has 10 of her scheduled 13 races remaining on the 2010 slate. Scott Wimmer recently completed a two-race commitment and posted season-best finishes of 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and seventh at Nashville Superspeedway. Driving vacancies left on the No. 7 schedule are still to be determined.
Posted on: April 13, 2010 12:45 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2010 12:46 pm
Scene Daily reports that Aric Almirola and Phoenix Racing have mutually agreed to part ways.
Aric Almirola, who qualified for four of the first seven Sprint Cup races for Phoenix Racing, said Monday he has mutually agreed to part ways with the team and will focus on competing for the Camping World Truck Series title with Billy Ballew Motorsports.
Phoenix Racing lost its sponsorship from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming prior to the start of the season and has dropped out of the four races with Almirola within 60 laps.
"We both agreed it was time to do something different," Almirola said in a phone interview. "I am going to focus a lot more on my truck program, which is really important to me and Billy Ballew Motorsports and all the guys over there."The 26-year-old Almirola is second in the truck standings, just 82 points behind leader Timothy Peters. Almirola has three top-10s in four truck events this year. Read the full story at scenedaily.com