There really isn’t an off-season in NASCAR. While myself and most of the NASCAR Media have been on vacation – the last big deals on the table have been struck.
Earlier this week Best Buy confirmed the rumors that they were leaving Richard Petty Motorsports. Early rumors actually said that the recently fired Kurt Busch may be heading to the #43 car but Best Buy took their sponsorship dollars to Jack Roush and will be sharing space on the #99 car of Carl Edwards with a number of other associate sponsors. Next season Carl will be selling: UPS, AFLAC, Best Buy, Valvoline, Scott’s – and I am sure I am fogetting a few in there somewhere. I havn’t seen one guy shill this many products since Gene Simmons.
Turns out AJ Allmendinger is leaving the #43 and RPM and will be in KuBu’s old #22 seat at Penske with Shell/Pennzoil staying put. This will put Allmendinger in the best equipment he’s ever driven and Shell will be glad to have a driver without all the extra baggage that came with the elder Busch.
“I have always admired Roger Penske and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race,” said Allmendinger in a press release. “It is a privilege for me to represent such iconic and respected brands as Shell and Pennzoil, AAA and Dodge. I am honored to join Penske Racing and I will do my very best to continue to build on the standard of excellence established across the organization.”
AJ has shows a ton of improvement in the Cup Series and with the cars that Penske will put under him – I expect him to be the next driver to get his first Sprint Cup Victory.
Kurt Busch also has a home in 2012. He will replace Landon Cassill in the #51 for Pheonix Racing. Fox Sports’ Lee Spencer reportedthat Busch visited the Phoenix Racing Shop on Wendesday night in Spartanburg, SC and made a handshake deal with owner James Finch. “I went to the shop, and on the Christmas tree was a sign that read, ‘All we want from Santa is a winning driver,’ ” Finch said. “We will be at the Daytona test next month and start with the (Budweiser) Shootout.
I told Kurt, ‘I won’t fire you, and you won’t quit. We’ll do whatever it takes — roll in the mud if we have to to win. I’ve worked construction all my life just so I could race and have a good time. I’ve worked with iron workers, I worked with construction workers, so working with a driver is not going to be a problem. As I said earlier, all we want to do is win”.
Kurt Busch was tweeting on Thursday about the deal saying: “I’ve had a lot of great offers come my way but racing with Finch was exactly what I was looking for. I needed some fun this year……..Old southwest tour days. Finch’s team reminds me of that. Old school racing is exactly what I was looking for.”
There are a few drivers still looking for rides: David Ragan, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers – the deals that Busch and Allmendinger signed this week took the two best remaining seats in the Cup Series. It may mean the two Davids and Vickers may be looking for rides in the Nationwide or Truck series – if they want to run with a team that is compeditive.
Lastly, I have been “out of it” this week. I am in the Carolinas for some work meetings and then will be visiting Family and Friends over Christmas. I grew up here so I literally have a full schedule trying to squeeze in visits with everyone in these few days that I am here. Sorry for the lack of posts on Queers4Gears – usually this time of year that is not a big deal….. but Silly Season just would not wait.