Tom Time Blog: NASCAR Silly Season in Full Swing

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August 20, 2013 – Story By RaceChaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker – Photo by Getty Images/NASCAR –

It’s that time of year again.  Baseball is headed toward playoff mode, football is in it’s final days of training camps and NASCAR…well, NASCAR has thrown the green on “silly season”, otherwise known as “gossip season”.

Drivers who have no 2014 deals in place right now are trying to line up sponsors and/or teams and listening to opportunities galore.  This list includes but are not limited to Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almorola, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin.  Austin Dillon is rumored to be moving to ‘Cup and then there are always drivers in the Nationwide Series who will be under consideration. 

What about Kyle Larson? 

Silly season got sillier recently when Tony Stewart got injured racing a sprint car.  Austin Dillon got off to a rocky start as his stand-in at Michigan before settling down and rebounding nicely to a 14th place finish. 

Not bad for the first time in the car, right?  Apparently not good enough, though.  24 hours later, Mark Martin was “traded” to Stewart Haas Racing to tag-team with Dillon for the remainder of the season in a deal that actually involved three teams, two sponsors and two manufacturers. 

Now, let’s get the scorecard straight, shall we? 

Mark Martin goes from the No. 55 to the No. 14, except for Talladega where Austin Dillon will drive it.  Austin Dillon might be racing the No. 33 or the No. 51 when he’s not racing the No. 14.  Brian Vickers now goes into the No. 55 for the remainder of the year.

There.  That about explains it.  But what about 2014?

That’s already getting silly as well.  Juan Montoya is out of the No. 42.  Kevin Harvick is out of the No. 29.  Ryan Newman is out of the No. 39 and that car might or might not be the No. 4 next year for Kevin Harvick, depending on whether or not Kurt Busch decides to join Smoke’s posse. 

Richard Childress has expressed interest in having Newman in the No. 29 but Austin Dillon might be in it with the No. 3 on it instead.  If Newman comes to the No. 29 then Dillon gets a fourth car with the No. 3 if he comes to ‘Cup full time. 

What about Kyle Larson?

Larson might be in the No. 42 full-time.  Or, perhaps Chip Ganassi might try to talk Mark Martin, who just got traded from the No. 55 to the No. 14, into a part-time gig as Kyle’s mentor in a split schedule.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allmendinger in it or possibly even Ambrose (but I’d be shocked if Ambrose was allowed to leave RPM without them making a huge pitch to keep him).

I could see Allmendinger in the No. 47 but then that would leave Bobby Labonte out.  Maybe if that happens Bobby and Terry Labonte could put something together with Martin, sign a few partners to promote men’s health products for the over 50 crowd and split the races.  If Trevor Bayne gets a full-time ‘Cup shot, maybe they could all drive some for the Wood Brothers – now that would be a “Throwback Thursday” team if there ever was one!

Yep, it’s silly season alright.  Don’t try to understand it.  Just sit back and watch it.  It’s always quite a show! 

Comments 1

  1. I really hope that Ganassi doesn’t rush Kyle Larson to Cup this early. I see that car being split with Mark Martin and Larson. Would hate to see him get rushed up and fail as we’ve seen many do.

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