Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to [email protected] or @NickBromberg. We’ll post them here and have a good time.
Welcome back to Happy Hour after a week off. We made sure to attempt to recharge in anticipation of not only the final 13 races of the Sprint Cup Series season, but the upcoming college football season, which kicks off in two short weeks. And there’s the prospect of playoff baseball coverage on the horizon too, so we had to enjoy the summer while we still could. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get away from everything for a bit this summer as well.
The news of the week is certainly Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip Racing. So we’ll start with them.
This is a complicated question. Let’s look at open seats in the Sprint Cup Series via existing multi-car teams. We’re going to assume that Furniture Row has one open spot given the team’s expressed desire to add a second car depending on sponsorship.
Penske Racing: 2
Chip Ganassi Racing: 2
HScott Motorsports: 2
Furniture Row Racing:
Richard Petty Motorsports: 2
Roush Fenway Racing: 1
Front Row Racing:
Richard Childress Racing: 1
BK Racing: 1
Penske has not been mentioned in any expansion rumors and could be considered a three-car team if you count the Wood Brothers and Ryan Blaney. They’re not in this. CGR could be a destination for Bowyer, as previously reported, but his statement with Michael Waltrip Racing earlier in the week made it seem like he was not going to be racing on a team owned by Rob Kauffman next year.
RCR is likely out too, not because of Bowyer’s previous relationship with them, but that if RCR goes to four teams, it makes more sense to do so with Ty Dillon, unless the team puts Dillon in a Circle Sport Racing car or another team for a year or so. But that’s not a likely long-term scenario; having Ty on one team and Austin on another doesn’t seem feasible.
Outside of newly super-competitive Furniture Row, everyone else on this list is not an upgrade, right? We may be biased because Bowyer is from near where we grew up, but we think he can be a championship-caliber driver. And he’s not only showed that at Michael Waltrip Racing. When he was at RCR, he would have been a legit title threat in 2010 if not for the New Hampshire penalty.
The wild card in all of this is HScott Motorsports. According to a report by Motorsport, HScott could be a destination for Bowyer, possibly in the way that Red Bull was for Kasey Kahne in 2011. Why? It says Bowyer has been mentioned – an idea that has also been brought up by USA Today – for the No. 14 currently driven by Tony Stewart.
That idea at least makes sense when you play the what-if game. HScott has an equipment affiliation with Stewart-Haas (an affiliate of an affiliate!), and you could imagine SHR putting a lot of resources into a Bowyer effort with the idea he’d be eventually an official member of the team. And besides, the No. 15 as a teammate to the No. 51 works perfectly, right?
And Bowyer has what Ragan doesn’t: A sponsor. 5-Hour Energy will likely go with him wherever he ends up. Ragan doesn’t have a sponsor to bring to the table, unless he can somehow take Aaron’s with him from the remains of Michael Waltrip Racing. Could he return to Front Row Motorsports? His path looks even murkier than Bowyer’s.
And when you add in the sponsorship and exposure aspect for Danica Patrick, re-signing her is an absolute no-brainer. Yes, a lot of you will post hateful comments and send us angry emails about her and her success in the Cup Series, but those comments are proof of her relevancy. If she wasn’t relevant, you wouldn’t care enough to type out your thoughts. That exposure is massive. You can be popular and not entirely well-liked. It’s not a new or foreign concept.
It’s too bad, but I have not been able to watch a race since NBC started broadcasting the Sprint Cup races. – Tom
Why do these emails continue to exist? Does everyone who doesn’t get NBC Sports Network say it out loud? While we understand cable is expensive, it’s not prohibitively expensive to upgrade to the tier that NBC Sports Network is on, is it? It’s increasingly on the same tier as ESPN, which had NASCAR rights last year. The same goes for Fox Sports 1 too, its distribution is not massive when compared to NBCSN’s.
And besides, if you didn’t have access to ESPN, you couldn’t see any of the Chase races in 2014. You can’t say that about NBC’s coverage. There will be races on network television.
Paying to watch sports on television is something that will not go away. And if you don’t want to get cable — for reasons that we would understand — go find a bar that has cheap drinks on Sunday afternoons and make friends with the bartender. There are numerous ways to watch races that may not be on your television through your provider.
We have another idea. Cut the damn splitters off the front of the cars.
While we understand the reasoning for paving lots of areas at tracks where grass is currently, having SAFER barrier around every inch of feasible wall-space at a track seems more important. And how much would the complaints about the infield grass go down if the cars weren’t situated so low to the ground.
The pass in the grass simply couldn’t happen with the cars of 2015. If it did, the car in the grass would be incredibly torn up, or, at best, start overheating with sod all over the intake. If the front end of the cars are raised up a few inches, not only is downforce taken away – and it’s increasingly obvious that these cars need less downforce – but they don’t become bulldozers when they hit the grass.
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