Huge changes are on the horizon in the Sprint Cup garage. This time, it involves a pair of two-car teams, with one reportedly about to be turned into a three-car program.
Rob Kauffman, a principal owner for Michael Waltrip Racing for the last eight years, is looking to buy Felix Sabates’ share of Chip Ganassi Racing. And, according to Adam Stern of SportsBusiness Journal, he’s taking Clint Bowyer with him.
This comes just a day after Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson told Jim Noble of Sirius XM, “We’re not sure what MWR is going to do – they’ve yet to announce their plans.” Wilson also noted the manufacturer is exploring new teams and Furniture Row Racing has “not decided” on future plans.
Sabates later offered his take on the situation, refuting the reports he is sharing his stake.
“I am not going anywhere,” Sabates told Jim Utter of Motorsport.com. “I am having too much fun. Plus, I have unfinished business. I need to sit at the head table in Las Vegas.”
CGR has two already successful teams with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray in the No. 42 and 1 cars, respectively. But with just one in the Chase picture and Larson not living up to expectations in his sophomore campaign, adding a third team would lock in another notable driver in the mix.
Though he missed NASCAR’s postseason last year, Bowyer has finished top 10 in points in five of his first nine full-time seasons. That includes a second-place result in 2012 when he won a career-high three races. Adding Bowyer to the stable would be a perfect addition.
Meanwhile, MWR hasn’t captured any wins this season and the loss of Bowyer would be a critical blow to the program. The future of Brian Vickers is still unsure with his health troubles and David Ragan hasn’t tallied a single top 10 since moving over to the No. 55 machine.
Sponsors such as 5-Hour Energy, Aaron’s, Peak, AAA and Maxwell House also have a decision to make. Do they stick with the MWR team or join Bowyer in his potential new endeavor?
There are a lot of moves still yet to be made, but one thing is for sure—the silly season in NASCAR has officially begun.
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