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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Bull exiting NASCAR won’t have a major impact

In a busy news week in the NASCAR world, one of the top headlines is that Red Bull is pulling out of the sport starting next year. They will no longer field a team in NASCAR, and do not have plans to remain on as a car sponsor either.

Team manager Jay Frye told media this week that he is working on investors and hopes some sort of a team can be salvaged, but it would not be a Red Bull team regardless of what he does.

My thoughts on the whole deal?
-- First, I am not surprised at all by the departure. Red Bull has their name on almost every form of motorsport in some fashion, and eventually the money has to run out, especially considering they not only owned the team but also sponsored the cars. This is not a good business model by any means. And despite all the investment they did in NASCAR, they never really took off as a team, other than a few really good runs by Brian Vickers. If you have to pull out of one motorsport, it might as well be the one that is not doing so hot for you (NASCAR) and not the ones where you are excelling (Formula 1, for example, where Sebastian Vettel is emerging as the next Michael Schumacher). Eventually, you have to choose your priorities, and NASCAR is nowhere near the top of the list for Red Bull. There are no current or future champions in the Red Bull pipeline on the NASCAR end (though Cole Whitt is a good talent who could be successful on some level).

-- Even if Frye can get the team new investors, it will essentially be a brand new team, and the Red Bull era is over. This new team will likely be a minor player now, which it kind of already was anyway as Red Bull, and I do not expect any big-name drivers would want to get a job there.

-- Perhaps the biggest impact is on the driver end, as this pretty much kills the idea I and others had that Mark Martin and Kahne would swap rides for 2012. So now the questions become: Where does Martin end up? What about Brian Vickers? It should be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

The bottom line, though, is that while there is an initial shock from the Red Bull announcement, in the grand scheme of NASCAR it will not have a huge impact, other than on some free agent drivers.

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Anonymous Mike said...

"There are no current or future champions in the Red Bull pipeline on the NASCAR end"

May want to take that one back. Vickers Was the youngest NASCAR n'wide champ in history.

June 28, 2011 at 10:26 PM 

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