Monday, June 02, 2008

It's Only June, But Silly Season Is Already Well Underway

NASCAR Silly Season ramped up another notch this weekend in Delaware, with published reports of possible moves involving as many as four drivers, and multiple teams.

The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Utter is reporting that Jamie McMurray will not return to Roush Fenway Racing next season. McMurray’s representatives have reportedly begun contacting other teams to talk about his availability in 2009 and beyond, after he finished 10th in the Best Buy 400 at Dover yesterday; his second Top-10 finish of the season.

Roush-Fenway is said to be working to put sponsor Crown Royal together with Greg Biffle next season, while Biffle continues to negotiate his own contract extension. McMurray is now 22nd in championship points -- 259 out of the Chase – and if he does depart, it would drop Roush-Fenway from five teams to four; one year ahead of NASCAR’s mandated four-cars-per-team limit. Biffle, meanwhile, said he has submitted a detailed contract offer to Roush Fenway, and is awaiting their reply.

Martin Truex Jr. says he wants to sign a long-term deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc, but admitted that negotiations surrounding the new contract are now becoming a distraction.

DEI exercised its option on Truex’s contract in late April, but the New Jersey native told Sirius Speedway shortly afterward that a number of details had yet to be negotiated. "It's a pain,” said Truex Saturday at Dover. “It's a big pain. That's why I try not to talk about it. We're just working on some stuff, (and) we'll see what happens. We'll get it done, and when it's done, everybody will know.”

DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel has said that signing Truex to a long-term contract is a top priority for the team.

Published reports also have Reed Sorenson on thin ice at Ganassi Racing. Sorenson finished 24th in the points during his rookie season two years ago, and 22nd last season. He has tumbled to 30th in points this year, with just one top-five finish. He is in the final year of his three-year contract with Ganassi, and admits that he hears the rumors of IndyCar star Dan Wheldon’s interest in jumping to NASCAR as soon as next season.

Sorenson told Yahoo Sports this weekend, "I'm making sure I concentrate on (this year) before I get too carried away with next year. If I can run good here for a little while, then it will take care of itself."

There is speculation that Juan Pablo Montoya could also leave Ganassi for Joe Gibbs Racing, if Tony Stewart exits the Gibbs stable at the end of the season. Montoya has expressed unhappiness with a pair of recent crewchief changes at Ganassi, and rumors have begun to circulate that he is high on Gibbs’ list of possible replacement drivers.

And finally, Dodge’s Director of Brand and SRT Marketing Communications Mike Accavitti commented yesterday on recent speculation about a possible partnership between Ganassi and Penske Racing, or even a buyout of Ganassi’s NASCAR operation by Penske. Accavitti called the reports, "absolutely preposterous," and called a partnership between the two, "like putting the Hatfields and McCoys together."

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