Hold your horses on all this economic recovery talk. While there are signs the recession might have slowed or stopped, there are two new reports that suggest the recovery for racing fans might take longer than the rest of the population.
The new management guru at Chevy met with the media before Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. If you think Chevy is going to bulk up its NASCAR coinage after bankruptcy prompted some serious hacking, I’ve got some GM stock to sell you.
"I think the main thing is -- much like in the status we're currently at with our company -- that a lot of people have made sacrifices and cut back, so the right thing is not to expand at this point in time until we get ourselves in a healthier footprint," Brent Dewar said Saturday. "We like the direction we're going."
Published reports say Dewar also met with Chevy teams to talk about what was and wasn’t possible for 2010. Those same reports suggest a separate meeting with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, which might be considering a manufacturer switch.
So too is Richard Petty Motorsports/whatever it is going to be called next year since it changes names like Paris Hilton does boyfriends. The Dodge shop recently saw its marquee driver, Kasey Kahne, sit in front of a Toyota for a photo shoot. I’ll take "Salvo at Dodge for a $1,000" Alex.
Where is Ford in all of this? Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith told one reporter the team is still searching for Matt Kenesth’s primary sponsor, not to mention its affiliates at Yates Racing and on the Nationwide Series.
"It’s Labor Day and there has been no significant change in the economy of the sport as it relates to sponsors," Smith said. "If anything, there’s been a frenzy to try to get costs reduced from the sponsors that are here. Usually by this time there are four or five big players that are entering the sport that we can all go compete for... That’s not here right now. These programs are not simple investments."
Holy crap sandwich, Batman. Matt Kenseth has 18 wins (including the 2009 Daytona 500) and one title under his belt. Bobby Labonte won the title in 2000 and just lost his ride. Imagine the stress of a driver who hasn’t won anything in a few years (paging Elliott Sadler). And when Sprint Cup teams are cutting costs left and right, how many ARCA teams donate plasma on Tuesday to race on Saturday?
Whether this financial wet blanket hurts racing remains a mystery. What remains clear is the talk of this off-season will remain the talk of last off-season. Sorry guys, but cash issues suck. Maybe Kahne can rekindle that lost "romance" with Paris Hilton to help get some new money in the sport.
Notebook: Chevrolet boss reluctant to add new teams: (NASCAR)
Roush Fenway Racing still searching for 2010 sponsors; not seeking Danica Patrick (Scene Daily)
The women of Kasey Kahne
Paris Hilton photo gallery