Have you heard the latest...that Dodge might yet be coming back to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series next season...with quite a shake-up resulting from a rumored switch by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing from the Bowtie to Dodge?
We saw this item online at http://www.WorldMotorsports101.com, posted just after the test sessions at the Texas Motor Speedway before
qualifyiung for last weekend's Sprint Cup race.
Interesting that it names some possible Dodge drivers for '14, and why they & their teams (especially the Earnhard Ganassi Racing team) might be changing manufacturers.
John Menard/Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Rumor Screams One Word: Dodge
The hottest rumor in the garage area during the Thursday test session at Texas Motor Speedway was the rumor of John Menard, owner of the home improvement warehouse chain Menards, buying the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team, and its two car operation with drivers Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Menard is also the father of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard, who is currently a driver at Richard Childress Racing.
While it's only a rumor, it sure opens up a lot of possibilities as to what will happen if the proposed rumor of Menard buying the operation happens.
First, you have to believe that there will be some kind of association with Richard Childress Racing. Since Menard's son runs for RCR, you could see John Menard become the owner of Paul Menard's team, with chassis and engines coming from Richard Childress Racing, and Juan Pablo Montoya moving over to RCR's operation in 2014.
However, that's not the only interesting piece to the rumor.
If you think about the first name in the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team, you automatically think Chevrolet. Dale Earhardt's wife Teresa is co-owner of the organization, and the team is a combination of Chip Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Since 1985, Earnhardt has been associated with Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr has driven nothing but a Chevrolet in his career, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. was even sponsored by the company from 1988 until his death in 2001. It would be a bad day seeing Earnhardt in anything but a Chevrolet. With Ganassi selling the organization, it could be the end of the Earnhardt association with the company, and opens the door for the a change of manufacturer.
Dodge has been rumored for months to be headed to Richard Childress Racing. While many scoffed at the idea at first, it is a little curious as to why Richard Childress Racing has yet to re-sign a deal with Chevrolet, a company the team has been with since its inception in 1969. It is clear that Richard Childress Racing has struggled the past few seasons, and is now the third Chevrolet team behind Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing.
Dodge got out of the sport of NASCAR because they felt they could not be competitive with smaller operations, and because they didn't have an engine supplier. Richard Childress Racing has the finances and the people to provide engines for many teams, and they would be the top team at a company that spent millions of dollars to create the Generation Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, only to put it on the shelf for a year.
With Childress, Dodge could have six or seven teams in Sprint Cup next season.
Childress currently fields three Sprint Cup teams, and the organization has an association with the solo car operation of Furniture Row Racing. Then comes the before-mentioned deal with John Menard, and that equals six. Then, you would have to wonder about James Finch's #51 operation, who had an association with Dodge in the past, and has run Austin Dillon, a developmental driver for Richard Childress Racing, in a few Cup races so far in the 2013 season.
Dillon, who is rumored to be running in the Sprint Cup Series in 2014 with Richard Childress Racing, would most likely drive the #3 for the organization. It would be the first time the #3 would be used in Sprint Cup since the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt in February, 2001.
Would people have as big of an issue with a #3 Dodge coming to the Sprint Cup Series? I think it would ease the pain of Earnhardt fans, since it wouldn't totally be the same as it would be with Chevrolet.
Kevin Harvick will leave Richard Childress Racing at the end of the 2013 season, perhaps because he is a Chevrolet guy. Harvick is real close friends with Tony Stewart, who is co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing the team Harvick will be driving for in 2014. Stewart is a Chevrolet guy, and he proved that when he asked out of his contract at Joe Gibbs Racing a year after the team switched from Chevrolet to Toyota.
Stewart, whose dirt track teams at the time were funded by Chevrolet, seemed none too thrilled to be with Toyota, and was back with Chevrolet the following year, buying out the final two years of his contract. It's not crazy for Harvick to have the same loyalty to Chevrolet. Harvick was sponsored by GM Goodwrench from
Whether Childress ends his 44-year relationship with Chevrolet remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure, there are some interesting rumors flying around Richard Childress Racing that will not die unless the team re-signs with Chevrolet.
(Courtesy WorldMotorsports 101.com)