The dominoes keep falling in the 2018 silly season. Ryan Newman is headed for a new home at Roush Fenway Racing, succeeding the driver combo of Matt Kenseth and Trevor Bayne. Now word comes out that AJ Allmendinger won’t return to JTG Daugherty in 2019.
The scuttlebutt has it Allmendinger will be pursuing opportunities outside of NASCAR. Back in the day, Allmendinger cut his teeth in the open wheel ranks. His lone Cup victory coming at Watkins Glen, he’s shown himself skillful at road course racing. He’s also visited victory lane on road courses in the Xfinity Series. The racing curtain has far from closed on the Los Gatos, California native.
What’s next on the silly season roulette wheel? One gets the feeling Kurt Busch may be moving on from Stewart-Haas Racing. With the apparent move of Martin Truex Jr. to JGR, Daniel Suarez will be looking for a new ride. It sounds like he has suitors. Trevor Bayne and Matt DiBennedetto are also seeking NASCAR employment.
As for veteran drivers, Matt Kenseth is only interested in a part-time role with RFR. Kasey Kahne- also citing family reasons- appears to be committed to stepping away. Ditto for Elliott Sadler- who’s been plying his trade in the Xfinity Series in recent years.
According to a piece by NBC, Jamie McMurray is being offered an opportunity to race in the 2019 Daytona 500 and a management role by his current boss Chip Ganassi. No word yet on McMurray’s thinking.
Are any more silly season dominoes set to fall? I wouldn’t bet against it. The X factor is sponsorship money. Some talented drivers have difficulty finding a car because they aren’t a sponsorship draw. Arguably, there are those with lesser talent who get to hang around BECAUSE they bring backing. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s how the game is played.
Round and round silly season goes, where it stops, nobody knows.