Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How Silly is Silly Season?

Dario Franchitti has found himself without a ride. This was something that was predicted by many in the media, but it wasn't entirely because of non-performance. According to Chip Ganassi the costs of running the team without a primary sponsor was too high.

This will undoubtedly generate even more grist for the rumor mill. Certainly, there will be stories about Tony Stewart finding a sponsor and getting a ride in the #40 car. His relationship with Chip Ganassi is well known, as it is Ganassi who has provided Smoke a car for the Indianapolis 500 in the past, when Stewart was doing double duty on Memorial Day weekend.

Stewart is already rumored to be signing with Haas/CNC, where he will be part owner and drive a car for the chronic backmarker, and wave some kind of magic wand that will suddenly make a top forty team a top ten team. While he is doing that, he is also rumored to be driving for Hendrick Motorsports in the number 5 car, since it has been announced that Casey Mears will no longer be driving the car next year. That alone should generate more rumors concerning Mears in the #40 car next year, even if Stewart is supposed to be in that car next year, according to rumor mongers, who have yet to explain how Smoke will be in the #5 car if that is where Mark Martin is supposed to be for 2009.

If Tony Stewart isn't driving the #33 car for Richard Childress next year, that may be the ride for Ryan Newman, who is reportedly unhappy with his Penske South team and is looking for a better offer before he renews his contract. Of course, everybody knows that Newman will be driving for the miserable #77 team for Haas CNC after Tony Stewart buys it and turns it around with his amazing powers. Or, perhaps Newman may want to stay with Dodge and drive the #40 car for Chip Ganassi.

There are those who would argue that Stewart could make a winner out of Haas. They say that he would have a better chance of winning a championship because he wouldn't be competing with Kyle Busch. What would happen to Busch if Stewart was with Haas that would keep him from being competitive is unknown at this time. They say that support for the team from Hendrick Motorsports would provide Haas with better cars. Hendrick is already providing as much support for Haas as they can without violating the four car limit, building their cars and engines. The only way they could do more would be to release Chad Knaus from the #48 team so Stewart could hire him.

Stewart would also need to find other personnel, such as chassis specialists, engine tuners, and car chiefs, since Haas is presently lacking in talent in those areas. Since Haas Industrial Systems sponsors the Haas cars, there may be enough money to get the best talent away from the teams that have it, but that is doubtful, as Stewart is also rumored to be looking for other sponsors.

But wouldn't Chevrolet Racing Division provide a lot of support, as they want Stewart back in their stable so badly they would lay off all the workers left in their North American operations to afford it?
Or maybe they would opt out of their support contracts with Hendrick, DEI, or Childress in order to give Stewart all the support he would need to turn Haas around. They wouldn't be likely to put more money into a new team, as GM has reported a fiscal loss for the third year in a row, and is rumored to be considering the withdrawal of support from NASCAR.

Of course, there is the often forgotten rumor that Stewart may stay with Gibbs to finish his contract through 2009, and then retire. Or he could still sign for three more years with Gibbs, but that is only if he can put up with "that punk Kyle Busch."

Is all this confusing? Of course. Obviously, not all of these rumors can be true, but we would like to think that if Tony Stewart has enough power to turn Haas CNC around, he could also drive for Hendrick, Ganassi, Childress and Gibbs all at the same time.

"Silly Season" has truly earned its name this year.


TSRFan-John said...

Well stated. While early in his career many people said Tony had 2 personalities (one on raceday, the other the rest of the week) it looks like now he's going to have to have multiple bodies if he's going to race every car that people say he is. It'll be the Tony Stewart Racing League.

Kitten said...

I predict that Tony Stewart will put on a cape and leap tall buildings with a single bound...

JMD said...

Actually Tony has secretly cloned himself and he will be driving all those cars so he has the field covered!!

Tim Z said...

With Martin going to Hendrick, I have to believe that Tony will stay put with JGR until the end of 2009. The real question is whether Mark will be driving part-time or full-time next season. If it's part-time, then it'll be Keselowski in the #5 in 2010 (unless JR Motorsports makes their way up by then). If he runs full-time, then expect Tony to drive that car in 2010, and then pursue ownership at the end of that contract when he retires from racing.