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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Language problems in contract clear up quickly after Vickers win

The cover story is always a funny thing, especially when it’s not even necessary.

Months after allegedly agreeing verbally to a long-term contract, Brian Vickers officially signed Tuesday to stay on at Red Bull Racing for several more years. This comes, of course, just two days after he earned the team its first win in NASCAR’s top series.

It was already assumed he was coming back, but the win solidified the decision, right? Wrong, if you believe the story being spun. Apparently the contract was sent overseas to Austria, where the team is based, and when it came back some language has changed. Lawyers got involved, and Vickers and Red Bull were just adjusting that language before everyone signed on the dotted line.

Oddly enough, after two months of not being able to clear up these language issues, they magically were figured out within hours of his victory.

Funny how that works.

No one will ever know why it really took so long to get this deal done, when it was clear Vickers was coming back. I’m guessing there were a few issues being argued about, but by winning Vickers finally convinced the team to let him have his way on the issues.

Regardless of the details about what happened, it’s silly to spin a story that the timing of the deal is just a coincidence, and has nothing to do with the race win, as logic dictates that the win certainly played a part in getting the deal done ASAP.

What does Keselowski’s future hold?
The drama of where Brad Keselowski where end up next year, as far as a full-time Cup ride, continues to grow.

First, there was a report he was speaking to Roger Penske, possibly about the #12 ride, at length earlier this week.
Then, there was another report that there is another option, known only to Keselowski, that would allow him to stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. This would not be the #09 Phoenix Racing team, which despite winning with Brad earlier this year has basically become a start-and-park team and couldn’t build decent enough cars to attract Keselowski as a full-time driver.

Tony Stewart has already said he is unlikely to expand to three team at Stewart-Haas Racing, so that means the unknown option is a brand new Hendrick affiliation. Speculation is on Richard Petty Motorsports, which may leave Dodge and go to either Toyota or Chevy, or other smaller teams like Furniture Row Racing.

Whatever it is, I suggest Hendrick work it out quickly. If all this drama and confusion drags on too long without a final decision, Keselowski might be left with no option other than leaving the organization at least temporarily until there’s an open spot for him, perhaps coming back into the fold in 2011 after a year abroad.

I don’t think that will happen, as he’s stated many times he wants to stay in the Hendrick organization, but the Hendrick people need to seal the deal so Brad isn’t tempted to jump ship … especially since many other teams, including Penske, would love to woo him to their side.

-- I wonder if when they decided to include Jeremy Mayfield’s former stepmom as a witness against him, NASCAR knew she was a crazy woman. After her incident his week of allegedly trespassing on Mayfield’s property, banging on his doors, assaulting his employees and threatening to kill him, I don’t think she’ll be taking the witness stand next year when this circus goes to trial. Mayfield’s lawyers have a lot of ammo now that one of NASCAR’s witnesses is acting out and showing her lack of credibility.

-- Instead of racing suits, last year’s Chase contenders, plus a few other former champs, will put on their monkey suits and visit with President Obama today. I find these events kind of funny for a couple reasons: One, it’s clear most of the drivers hate to get dressed up. And two, it’s also clear the president usually has no idea who these people are or how to pronounce their names. Can’t wait to see the awkward highlights.

-- Ryan Newman will run the Modified race, the Truck race, the Nationwide race and the Cup race this week at Bristol. That’s two races Wednesday, one Friday and one Saturday, not to mention practice and qualifying for all these races. That’s a lot of track time. It’ll be interesting to see how well he can do with such a hectic schedule. Since he is a bubble driver, I hope for his sake he doesn’t burn out before Saturday and have a bad finish.


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