It’s no secret that the NASCAR silly season is in full swing. It all started a few weeks ago with Matt Kenseth confirming rumors that he did not have a ride for 2018 season. This year seems to be one of the busiest for off season moves that I can personally remember in many years. The announcement by Kenseth forced Joe Gibbs Racing to move up their timeline of the announcement of Erik Jones Stepping in to pilot the Number 20 Gibbs entry in 2018. In some interviews Coach has been quoted as saying that he has to listen to what the sponsors want. This brings me to a point that you have seen me write about before and that is, are we really getting the top quality drivers or just the ones that bring money? We as a sport have been losing major drivers and talent at a alarming rate like Tony Stewart and before the season started we lost another with Carl Edwards untimely departure due to once again the sponsor.
We a few weeks prior got that announcement that some feared was coming that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be retiring at years end. That opened the door for all the rumors that Kenseth could land there. How ever as good as that could have been for Kenseth most had forgot about the driver who stepped in and subbed for Jr. when he was sidelined last year due to Concussion issues. Alex Bowman, not only did Bowman step in but won a pole and ran very well in all races he covered for Dale Jr. Just last week Hendrick Motorsports announced that Alex Bowman would take the helm of the famed number 88 in 2018.
Also this week is was confirmed to the racing world the rumors that were swirling early in the beginning of the of the year that Penske would be going to a three car team in 2018 (rumor was Carl Edwards would land there). Rodger him self let on to this earlier in the year by stating that he would love to have Ryan Blaney as a driver in his stable full time. It was announced that Ryan Blaney the, current driver for the famed 21 Wood Brothers Racing and Team Penske had come to terms with that addition we all were waiting for of the Number 12 Penske ride. This leaving open the Wood Brothers Racing number 21.
They did not delay or leave any of us hanging as to who would be taking that ride over. It is none other than that of Paul Menard. Menard will be leaving his Richard Childress Racing ride in the 27 open. Menard has been in the past with teams that have either already past their peak or are rebuilding. Menard however like what has happened at Joe Gibbs comes with money and sponsorship. Do not get it twisted Menard is talented and just really has never had the equipment to show it. Now he will be with a team that defiantly is peaking and has probably his best shot he has ever had in this sport.
All this silly season activity has me asking the question Who Wins And Who Loses from all of this. Well here are my thoughts lets start with the losers. First off this may shock you but I think us the fans lose. Let me explain. If you have been a fan of this sport like myself you see talent come and go how ever it was due to age or to poor performance like any other sport. But this day and age of the sport these moves are being done for money and not talent. Again don’t get this twisted the talent that has been announced so far is good however your replacing two championship quality drivers like Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards due to Sponsorship. We as fans lose because we lose the rivalry’s we have watched for so many years.
Second looser is that of Richard Childress Racing. Childress has had his ups and downs and has always found away. Take for example when he took on Dale Earnhardt Sr. prior it looked like RCR was doomed and all but over. Then after when Kevin Harvick took over they seemed to hit a rough spot again. He has always rebounded and I think he will here as well as long as he looks forward. He has Ryan Newman who is a seasoned vet. in the number 31 and Austin Dillon his grandson driving the 3 car. With Menard out it leaves a big hole in the team. The choice is a tough one do you bring in a veteran driver like Matt Kenseth to help grow the team and possibly win you another championship in the process or do you go with young talent that still needs development? A option that is still out there is to bring his other grandson Ty Dillon over from Germain Racing. When asked about it Childress states that they will announce their plans for their 2018 line up at a latter date.
On to the winners. First and for most Penske Racing is by far one of the biggest winners so far. Not only are they getting a talented driver in Ryan Blaney they are getting a driver that acts and holds himself with pure class on and off the track. This year we have all heard NASCAR say they are going for the younger generation well look no further. Blaney engages his fans and has a cult like following on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media. Not to mention this kid can drive proving that with his Pocono win this year that has placed him in the run for the championship.
Second would have to be Joe Gibbs Racing. They also have picked up a genuine guy in Erik Jones. He also has shown his talents in the truck series with KBM and as well in the Xfinity Series with JGR, and now with Furniture Row Racing piloting the number 77 entry and logged some good finishes and competed for some wins this year.
Last but not least would be that of Paul Menard. He and Wood Brothers Racing and the alliance with Penske could prove to be the best shot Menard may ever get in this sport. The Wood Brothers are in a great place with their first full time season coming to a close. They have been know as of lately for a starting place for new drivers to cut their teeth and the move on. However with the announcement of Menard driving for the team next year that stigma could be gone.
What are your thoughts? who wins who loses in this silly season so far. Share your thoughts with us at Racing Assimilation on Facebook or on http://www.racingassimilation.com