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Monday, April 19, 2010

RPM not likely to find replacement of Kasey Kahne's caliber

On Friday, it was reported that Foster Gillett, the managing partner of Richard Petty Motorsports and son of team owner George Gillett Jr., said that the team is confident it can recover from Kasey Kahne's decision to leave after this year and sign with Hendrick Motorsports.

Kahne leaving is not the only thing worrying RPM, which recently defaulted on a loan worth many millions of dollars. Still, Gillett said things will turn around.

"Many people last year were saying the same thing," Gillett said. "You know what? We're still here. We survived and thrived and we'll do it again. When change like this happens, it opens up opportunities for others. We are focusing on the opportunities we have more than what we lose."

RPM is in a unique position among all teams. All of its remaining drivers – A.J. Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler -- have contracts that end after 2010. Sadler is likely out (they tried to dump him already, but he forced his way back in), so even if Dinger and Menard re-up there will be two open seats, which may or may not be filled depending on sponsorship situations.

One thing’s for sure: No matter what the team says, they aren’t going to find another driver of Kahne’s caliber on the free market. They’ll most likely end up with a journeyman like Casey Mears, or they will pick up a guy out of the Nationwide series who will likely struggle as his Cup career begins.

I wish them luck, as they’re going to need it.

Gossage: start-and-parkers are ‘stealing money’
You can count Eddie Gossage in the anti-start-and-park crowd. Teams like Phil Parsons’ MSRP Motorsports, James Finch’s Phoenix Racing and others have been pulling their cars in to the garage after a short number of laps because they can’t afford to run the full distance each week. It’s pretty transparent, as some teams don't even purchase extra tires as they know they won’t use them. This controversial practice doesn’t sit well with Gossage.

"The start-and-parkers are simply stealing," Gossage said Saturday. "I don't blame them for finding the loophole, but they are going to steal a half a million dollars here tomorrow [in the Samsung Mobile 500] of our money They add nothing to the show, not one darn thing. They're stealing. I want real racers, but they're not racing. NASCAR has an obligation to the fans to not allow this. People are stealing in broad daylight in front of 150,000 fans in the grandstands and millions of people watching at home."

I like what Gossage had to say about how to stop the practice. First, he recommends lowering the field to 36 cars. This may be a bit much, but I could see knocking it down to 40 or so to limit the number of start-and-parks. Also, he suggests much smaller payouts to the last place teams. For example, right now 43rd place at Texas earns $85K. He suggests a $10K payout, and bigger purses up front. This kind of money reallocation could force teams to try to run longer so they don’t finish in the last few spots.

Monday doubleheader
If you hear your co-worker yelling today, don’t worry. He’s probably busy watching the 800 miles of NASCAR racing scheduled for Monday from Texas. Kyle Busch has a great shot at winning his fifth straight Nationwide race at Texas, and the Cup race is big question mark with a green racetrack due to all the rain. Should be a lot of fun, but don’t forget to get your work done, too.

Kyle Busch gave a shout-out this weekend during an interview to “the late Sam Ard” … unfortunately for Kyle, Ard is still alive, and Busch later apologized on Twitter. He mean to say “the great Sam Ard”. I’m sure all is forgiven, though. Busch donated 100K to the ailing Ard, a former Busch Series great, in 2008.
Still, it’s amazing what a couple letters can do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They already do. Allmendinger!

April 19, 2010 at 8:21 AM 

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