When it rains, it pours. Except, in NASCAR, where doesn’t just pour, it monsoons.
News broke late Sunday night that Stewart-Haas Racing has made a formal offer to Kurt Busch for 2014. This means the team would extend to a four-car operation. Must I remind you, co-owner Tony Stewart kicked Ryan Newman to the curb earlier this season, saying there wasn’t enough funding for another ride.
Newman’s back is probably stinging a bit. Either Stewart found some money, or betrayal was involved. Hmm.
Speaking of Stewart, it was revealed Monday afternoon that the three-time champion would be out for the rest of the season due to the leg injury he sustained during a Sprint car wreck at the beginning of August. Austin Dillon filled in for him this past week at Michigan, and he will reprise his role during The Chase, running at Talladega.
As for the other twelve races, Mark Martin will be the substitute. This comes a week after Michael Waltrip Racing announced Brian Vickers will run fulltime in the No. 55, the ride he currently splits with Martin and team owner Waltrip, next season. The deal between Martin and SHR officially breaks the contract he held with MWR.
Vickers will slip into Martin’s old ride for twelve races, letting Waltrip run Talladega as scheduled.
On the NASCAR Nationwide series side of things, Richard Childress Racing is bringing Ty Dillon to the next level, placing him in the No. 3 permanently in 2014. The older Dillon will then jump to the Cup series, and it’s assumed he will bring the No. 3, made iconic by Dale Earnhardt, back into Cup competition. Earnhardt, who ran for Childress and was a close friend, knew the Dillon brothers when they were little kids.
In my eyes, I see Busch at RCR next year. Furniture Row Racing, where he currently takes residence, is a satellite team of Childress’ operation. It would be a good fit. However, the team has had a strong interest in Newman also. If Busch goes to SHR, Newman will either be in the Childress camp, the newly opened No. 42 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, or even the FRR ride, the No. 78. If Busch picks RCR, the latter two options are open for this year’s Brickyard winner.
Stewart being out the remainder of the season isn’t a surprise, but it could possibly be somewhat of a Godsend. With Martin being in the seat, he can provide amazing feedback that could help the other two teams in the shop. His commentary did wonders for MWR, and maybe this will lead to a mentoring or coaching role at SHR, a position he has expressed interest in.
That move forces Vickers into his future ride earlier than expected, giving his extra time to adjust. How can that be a bad thing? Well, it could take his focus off his run toward a Nationwide championship, but he should do fine.
Ty Dillon’s move into the second-tier NASCAR series seems a bit rushed, but he’ll do fine. The other Dillon, though, is already causing controversy, and the deal hasn’t been officially announced. That’s right, the infamous “No. 3 Debate” is rearing its head again. I see no problem with it, simple as that.
This year’s edition of Musical Chairs has begun a bit earlier than expected. But don’t expect it to stop pounding rain just yet.
This is just a drizzle.