That?s the reaction I?ve been reading a lot. After all, hasn?t Mark Martin adamantly stated that he is not leaving Hendrick Motorsports until after next year? Yep, that?s what he keeps saying, and is the biggest reason it may not happen, despite what is being reported. My opinion since Mr. Hendrick signed Kasey Kahne is that Mark Martin should step out of the way. What good would it really do for him to stick around, knowing he won?t be back the next year? One way or another, I feel bad for Kasey Kahne: either he doesn?t have a (quality) ride next year or he has to work with Alan Gustafson even sooner. But that?s another topic. Instead of looking at all of the unknown in the big mess this has turned into at Hendrick, I?m going to delve into what may happen if Mark Martin does join Red Bull Racing next year.
The first issue is which car he will drive. Brian Vickers will be back full-time next year starting in the #83 at the Daytona 500. As the team?s leader I don?t see them letting him go, especially with as much is being done to bring him back. Scott Speed also seems very secure in his ride, especially after finishing 10th last weekend. Red Bull and NASCAR need his personality about as much as he needs them, whether they know it or not. So what team do I propose they would put ?the most successful driver without a championship? in? A third team, more than likely bringing back the #84. That way he would have some stability and it would give him about 3 more years of racing. (How long will he be sticking around anyway?) He wouldn?t be keeping any younger drivers from any rides, and he would be part of continuing to build the fastest growing new organization in NASCAR. He could be a key part of turning the team into a strong 3-car operation while getting the #84 off the ground in preparation for Red Bull?s upcoming star Cole Whitt, who could be ready for Cup racing in the next 3 years.
There has been a lot of talk about if Red Bull will stay with Toyota or switch to Chevrolet, as rumored over the offseason. While switching to Chevy might hurry a deal with Hendrick Motorsports, and thereby Mark Martin, I hope they stay with Toyota. The last thing they would need is to become another in the growing number of Hendrick satellite teams. The information from HMS would be great, but if the Toyota teams really share as much info as I?ve heard they do, the Gibbs? team has had no small success this year (despite the last three weeks). But if they were to switch to Chevys and pick up an alliance with Hendrick, why not just give the third car to Kasey Kahne? I don?t know?though it sounds logical, maybe Mr. Hendrick doesn?t want to potentially lose hold of Kasey Kahne.
In articles and on Facebook statuses everywhere, I keep reading the rumor of Red Bull giving up running its teams and going back to just being a sponsor. That isn?t very realistic, why would they give up all they?ve built so far just to cut costs? Though many sponsors are facing financial difficulties, I haven?t heard of that happening with Red Bull who has very deep pockets and supports everything from the X Games to air races. Beyond that, they no longer have an investment in the IRL IndyCar series and need an American auto racing series to keep them in the spotlight. Overall, Red Bull Racing has a vision, the same vision they first started with, and that is to win championships. 2007 was a struggle, undoubtedly bigger than they had anticipated, but got Brian Vickers locked in five races into 2008 and Scott Speed locked in starting with 2009 before making the Chase for the first time last year. Despite the appearances, they were well on their way to not only getting in the Chase this year, but also finishing in the top 10. Brian?s 10th place finish at Darlington was what I believe to have been the start of another hot summer for him. Their future is not bleak at all, in fact, quite the opposite as they could be winning championships within the next 5 years, barring anymore unforeseen circumstances like they are facing this year.
So, what do I think of Mark Martin driving for Red Bull? I?m all for it and if Mr. Hendrick can talk Mark into its benefits, the situation has my blessing.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.