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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Keselowski perfect choice if Stewart decides to expand Cup team

The writing is on the wall.

After coming into this year saying he has no plans to go beyond two cars anytime soon, Tony Stewart has apparently changed his mind due to his outstanding performance to start the year. He said this week that if the proper sponsorship can line up, he would consider making Stewart-Haas Racing a three-car operation in 2010.

So let’s look at the facts.
-- Stewart may add a third Cup team.
-- Brad Keselowski deserves to be a Cup driver in 2010, but no spot is available at Hendrick Motorsports.
-- Both Stewart and Brad are very connected to Hendrick, so they have a common bond.

Add all that up, and you’ll see that if sponsorship can be acquired, Brad Keselowski will be calling Tony Stewart boss in 2010.

It’s the perfect storm, really. On Brad’s end, he gets a ride for one year, and can switch over to Hendrick for the 2011 season if Mark Martin actually retires, leaving the #5 seat open. Stewart has gotten so much help from Hendrick, I’m sure he would be willing to let Brad make that switch, out of respect for Hendrick.

On Stewart’s end, he gets a driver who has proven he can win on the Cup level after only a handful of starts. There are no real big name drivers coming into free agency that he could sign who would be much better than Brad (Jamie McMurray is the only real name that jumps to my mind, and he’s pretty average). With this deal, the third seat is filled for a year, then in 2011 he can go after a bigger name free agent like Kasey Kahne or Kurt Busch for a long-term deal.

Assuming the sponsorship comes through, look for this news to come out before the year is over, as it makes too much sense not to happen.

Nice to see Busch challenged
After seeing the predictable effortless Kyle Busch run to the front at Milwaukee, as if he were shooting ducks in a barrel, It was nice to see Roush driver Erik Darnell pass Busch toward the end of the race, then keep the superstar behind him for a good dozen laps, before ultimately losing P2 to Busch. It’s nice every once in a while to see a guy who you’d expect Busch to blow past stand up and defend his position against the Cup series interloper. (Fun fact I had forgotten: Darnell, along with David Ragan, was discovered on Jack Roush’s “Driver X” reality show that aired a few years back on the Discovery Channel.)

The past three weekends were supposed to be a chance for the Nationwide guys to win … so much for that idea, with the wins going to Busch, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards. But we have seen a glimpse of what the series might be like without the interference of guys like Busch and Edwards. Brad Keselowski would be the champion most likely, fending off guys like Brad Coleman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Scott Lagasse Jr., Stephen Leicht and Jason Leffler every week.

What a concept! A series with different drivers than we see every Sunday. I seem to remember something like that. It was called the Busch series, and it was a lot more fun that what we normally have to watch on a weekend where 20 Cup guys try out for both races.

Good day for Hornaday
Pulling double-duty for Kevin Harvick’s team, Ron Hornaday won the Truck race in the afternoon and came back at night to earn a top-10 in the team’s Nationwide car. Not too bad for a guy who turned 51 on Saturday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's almost a done deal. Ryan Newman with Bass Pro, he is already an excellent fit with them off track & they already are a Stewart sponser. Army part time sponsership to Keselowski with fill ins from both sides & are only one year deals anyway. Seems to fit?

June 21, 2009 at 9:59 AM 

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