It’s easy in this line of work to make a knee-jerk reaction to breaking news. It’s a little more difficult to offer some insight a few days after the fact. Doing it all with an homage to the late Bert Convy, now that’s providing real perspective.
While most people stewed over the final race before the Chase, I was stewing over another merger for Richard Petty Motorsports while watching too many old game shows. With that in mind, let’s play "Win, Lose or Draw" with the moves of the past week.
Kasey Kahne: Ford will provide better engines. Kahne should also benefit from the partnerships with Roush Fenway Racing. Having Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth as potential running buddies is an upgrade from RPM’s current crop that hasn’t won a race since Dom DeLuise’s passing.
Paul Menard: His record is dreadful. And yet he has a full ride for the third time in three years. I want to bottle his good fortune and sell it. Perhaps at Menards. I hear you can save big money there.
Existing teams looking for sponsors: This acquisition means the contraction of two or three teams. Two of said teams had some kind of sponsorship deal in place. Teams that need partial or full rides have some new leads they didn’t have this time last week.
Drivers looking for a ride: Travis Kvapil competed well with Yates gear and is sitting at home. Bobby Labonte has a title on his resume and no full-time ride next season. Dave Stremme and Reed Sorenson both have experience. Erik Darnell is trying to get his career going. Regan Smith got hosed in the Ginn-DEI merger. All of these guys have talent. None of them have a logical slot for next season.
Jamie McMurray: Roush Fenway Racing must go from five to four cars next season. All suggestions pointed to McMurray moving to Yates Racing. Yates Racing doesn’t exist. Uh-oh.
Full Field Races: Mergers over the last three years have led to the contraction of six teams. There’s still no concrete word on how DEI will replace Martin Truex Jr. Plus, we don’t know what will happen with McMurray. You don’t need an abacus to see some fuzzy math on the horizon, especially if these small, single-car operations continue to do diddly and poo. I have no clue what that means for the quality of racing, but it’s something most fans would have never fathomed three years ago.
Nationwide Series: Logic suggests drivers with no rides will move to the Nationwide Series. More experienced drivers should equal better racing and better ratings. But it also means newer blood is going to fall victim to this bottleneck of talent.
Petty Motorsports: They get better technology. But they reshape their management structure more than Bear Stearns. And instead of adding Kvapil, McMurray or Labonte, they add Menard, who has yet to turn the corner. Sure, Petty is more financially sustainable, but is it any deeper? More importantly, does it have enough dough to keep Kasey Kahne when his contract expires?
Dodge: They couldn’t financially support the six teams currently on the roster. That said, Roger Penske owns Saturn and is going to want return on that investment. It’s possible the Dodge boys may only see racing in 2011 by purchasing a ticket. Maybe they can sit next to Burt Reynolds.
Check out that head of hair on Jason Bateman.