The Racing World writes:
"A Silly Season Like No Other"
Posted by Nick DeGroot on December 23, 2011
Viewed 1952 times
Every year, the media is always talking about how Silly Season starts so early in NASCAR and things are happening before even a quarter of the season is over. Like many other things in the Cup Series this year, it was different. Everything about this year was different. From the 5 first time winners and 18 total to Kyle Busch getting beat up and parked and the tie for the title that was decided in who won the final race. 5-Time wasn't even in the top 5 in pts! This was undeniably a strange season and one to be remembered for a very long time. The final race was run over a month ago and yet, the chaos and controversy continues. Silly Season is at full force...and tommarow is Christmas Eve.
Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and Danica Patrick's rides for 2012 weren't even official until October! In the last race of the season we saw Kurt Busch pretty much lose it and go off on ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch. Since then, the questions have been where will David Ragan, David Reutimann, Brian Vickers and the recently fired Kurt Busch end up.
Well, we got one of those questions offically answered and a few new ones added on. Best Buy left RPM for the #17 team and AJ was left without a ride. Within a day, he had signed up to take the wheel of the very sought-after Penske Racing #22 ride. Then Phoenix Racing signs Kurt Busch to take over the #51, creating 2 new questions. Will he drive in the Nationwide Series full time for little brother Kyle and run part time in Cup? If so, who would drive the 51 when he doesn't?
We still don't even know who will drive the #10 when Danica isn't in it and who will drive the #55 when Mark/Michael aren't. Oh, and lets throw in Geoff Bodine with a sponsor backing him and Bruno Senna into the mix. Let's not forget about Ragan, Reutimann and Vickers either. Did I mention that it is December 23rd? By the way, in the last 30 days over 10 crew chiefs have moved around including the championship winning one! This is the wackiest Silly Season I have personally ever seen.
Now, looking into my crystal ball,(aka educated guessing) this is what I see for 2012. I think that Kurt will end up running full-time in Nationwide which would probably mean that a pure Nationwide only driver won't win the title. David Ragan will most likely sign to drive #43 car for Petty if that isn't a done deal already. If they can't get a sponsor and that deal doesn't work out though, I see Ragan ending up in one of the Front-Row Fords. If Senna does come to NASCAR, the money that he brings with him and his last name will probably gurantee him atleast a half way decent Truck Ride.(For those of you that don't know, Bruno Senna is the nephew of one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, Ayrton Senna) He may even end up at KBM. Remember, the 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen drove for Kyle once earlier this year.
As for Geoff and his sponsor, Luke & Associates Inc., I see them at TRG next year. Now David Reutimann. He was let go from MWR in a quick, sudden way with no warning. Similar to how Reed Sorenson was let go from Turner in the Nationwide Series earlier this season. He was left standing there saying, what now? He had no time to plan for it. David helped bring that team to where they are now bringing them their only Cup Victories and letting him go the way they did, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Anyway, Reuty is between a rock and a hard place. Last we knew, he was still under contract with MWR and Toyota through 2012. This is an issue that could keep him from action next season. If he can get out of his deal with Toyota, then I can easily see him teaming up with Tony Stewart and driving the #10 when Danica Ptrick isn't. Then he can possibly run a part time Nationwide Season too while he waits for a good full time Cup ride to open up in 2013.
Brian Vickers I could see getting a full time ride with Turner Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. He has driven for them before and maybe he could run some races in Cup driving the #55 for MWR. These are my 6 predictions, and with the way this year has gone, expect them all to be wrong and maybe one or two more players jumping into the Silly Season pot before this is all over. It's anyones guess what will happen between now and when they throw the green flag at Daytona.
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