…since the football season is essential over for me (I’ll watch the remaining games, it IS football after all and there is this one game called the Superbowl that will be played on Feb 1) I will turn my attention to the only other sport that really means anything to me and that is NASCAR. Seems that the mergers have settled down a bit so everyone can get ready for Daytona, or at least they have been finalized with the exception of the name of the new team formed by GEM and Petty Enterprises. Supposedly the name Petty will be prominent in the new name but like Kyle Petty said the Petty Enterprises that we have all known and loved (or hated) for the past 60 years in NASCAR ceased to exit when they merged with Boston Ventures and basically kicked Kyle to the curb. He said their is no bitterness. He knew there would be a time when he wasn’t racing full time, but I think it came sooner than he wanted it to.
The 43 is know in the hands of the new team without a driver and lest we forget, Bobby Labonte was driving it and he is still without a car. Funny how that worked out huh? Well he might be going over to the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team driving the number 41 that used to be driven by Reed Sorenson. That new team has Martin Truex, Jr in the number 1 car, Aric Almirola in the number 8 recently vacated by Mark Martin, and the 42 still driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, although last year that car was a Dodge, but will now be a Chevy and he does not have sponsorship for the entire year in that ride.
Over at the yet-to-be-named-merged-team-of-GEM-and-PE were the 43 is, there are rumors that Reed Sorenson could drive that car. They were also almost sued by Elliot Sadler as I wrote about earlier, but that has been settled. He will be in the 19, leaving AJ Almendinger to drive the number 10 which was vacated by Patrick Carpentier (thats pronounced kar-pan-tee-ay, he’s French Canadian) after he was fired for poor performance.
Confused yet? There’s more. Over at Hendrick Motorsports, Mark Martin (who was with DEI) signed up for a full schedule running in the number 5 that Casey Mears was driving in 2008. That was the car that Kyle Busch was in before he got canned and moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing, where Tony Stewart had been for every year of his career (10) before getting an offer he could not refuse and became an owner/driver of the new Stewart-Haas Racing team where he signed Ryan Newman away from the only team he had ever known in his career, Penske Racing.
The aforementioned Casey Mears is now at Richard Childress Racing driving the number 07 Jack Daniels car that was driven quite well by Clint Bowyer. He is in a new car, the number 33 sponsored by General Mills and Cheerios which got pulled away from Petty Enterprises (because they weren’t winning any races) and was in my opinion the beginning of the end to Bobby Labonte driving for PE and PE itself.
Whew! Did you get all that? I certainly hope so cause I’m still a bit confused if not frustrated at the state of NASCAR. And I’m as confused as an Amish electrician! Why do the college bowl games get all this money from sponsors who are pulling back from NASCAR? Citi Bank threw all kinds of money at the Rose Bowl this year and it wasn’t even the National Championship game (don’t get me started on that one). Yet that was a one time event. NASCAR is all year long. I just don’t get it. How can you not spend money on advertising your company or product on something that gets national attention ALL YEAR LONG!!! Yeah the networks may not show every car for the entire race, but hey when you have 160,000 fans jammed into a speedway someone is gonna see it right? I mean come on.
2009 is going to be a strange year for NASCAR, but there will be racing, there will be a Chase, and there will be a Champion (maybe Jimmie gets 4 in a row or Kasey Kahne gets his first!). I can’t wait for it to get started. Only 34 more days left for the Daytona 500 on Feb 15th. What a great birthday present I get every year!