Tag:Hendrick Motorsports
Posted on: June 30, 2009 12:47 pm

Some recent NASCAR rumors are off the wall

I thought I'd address some of the interesting rumors that have made their way across the NASCAR wires in recent weeks.

The biggest name in the NASCAR rumor mill has been ... Danica Patrick?

That's right. Patrick is in the final year of her contract with Andretti-Green Racing in the IndyCar Series, so of course stories pop up that she's interested in making the jump to NASCAR.

That part of the rumor you can believe. Even with the toll the economy has taken on NASCAR in recent seasons, it's still the top racing circuit in America. It would be a mistake for her not to test the waters.

Even if she stinks, the curiosity factor would be a boon to NASCAR. So I do think it's a legit consideration for her from a money making standpoint (for one season at least).

Now for the second half of the most recent rumor about Patrick -- that Hendrick Motorsports would replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Patrick in its driver lineup. Earnhardt Jr. would move over to his JR Motorsports operation, which would move up from the Nationwide Series to Cup and, like Stewart Haas, receives engines and technical support from Hendrick.

Don't buy it for a second. It just doesn't make a lick of sense to drop the series' most popular driver, who does have the ability to succeed despite the growing cries of his critics, for an untested stock-car driver. Hendrick may not lose much on the popularity/souvenier sales scale with that switch, but to think she'd have more success behind the wheel than Earnhardt is ridiculous.

The rumor that makes the most sense with Patrick is Ganassi ... in the IRL. That also gives her an in into NASCAR if she's truly interested in trying it out. All in all, I'd be stunned if she's driving a Sprint Cup car next season.

The other big rumor making the rounds involves Michael Waltrip Racing. A MWR press conference has been scheduled for July 7 as which time Waltrip is expected to announce that Martin Truex Jr. will drive the NAPA car.

That's not so surprising because that rumor has been going around for months. The twist in this rumor is that Truex would come aboard immediately.

While I won't argue that Truex won't be joining MWR, I just don't see it happening this year. Maybe for the last few races of the season if Earnhardt-Ganassi, Truex's current employer, is feeling generous.

I'm not saying it's not possible that Truex makes the switch now, but based on the history of how these things happen, I have my doubts.

Keep up with the latest Silly Season rumblings on CBSSports.com:

Posted on: April 24, 2008 11:48 am
Edited on: April 24, 2008 11:57 am

Stewart wants to leave Joe Gibbs Racing?

The news spread quickly last night as a couple of reports surfaced that Tony Stewart wanted out of the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs through 2009.

According to the reports, Stewart wants to join Haas CNC Racing, nabbing a 50 percent ownership stake in the process.

Expect a testy Stewart at Talladega as no doubt he'll be asked about these rumors ad nauseum.

Where it goes from here is anybody's guess.

The only reason I'm not completely laughing the rumor off is that Haas CNC receives engines and support from Hendrick Motorsports, so in all practicality it's a satellite operation. But even with that support, Haas CNC is a NASCAR bottomfeeder. Why would Stewart want to leave one of NASCAR's great teams for that?

I can't imagine that even the addition of Stewart would do much to change the fortunes of Haas CNC. Since Danica Patrick's win this past weekend, I've been on my soapbox that success is about more than a driver. It takes great personnel from the top to bottom of an organization. A driver can't do it alone.  

Now I'm not saying the rumor isn't totally without merit. I don't doubt that Stewart may want out. When Joe Gibbs Racing made the switch to Toyota, my thought from the start was that Stewart would eventually want out to rejoin forces with Chevrolet. But Haas CNC Racing?

There's a couple of Chevrolet scenarios that make a bit more sense to me.

1. Stewart buys a stake in Haas CNC, but signs to drive for Hendrick Motorsports -- after all, the generic version is never as good as the brand name. Mears gets shipped from the No. 25 to one of the Haas CNC rides.

2. Richard Childress Racing has a fourth seat to fill starting next and Stewart is good buddies with Kevin Harvick. If he's that's interested in ownership, perhaps he could by into Harvick's team.

That's all pure speculation on my part, but would make a lot more sense than Stewart simply wanting to leave JGR for Haas CNC unless he has become bored with success.

With the kettle now in full bubble mode, don't expect this to die down unless/until Stewart signs an extension with JGR.

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