Monday, August 25, 2008

Sabates Blasts Texaco, Sorenson

Felix Sabates has never been shy about stating his views, and Saturday, the outspoken co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates let loose with his thoughts on departing sponsor Texaco-Havoline and driver Reed Sorenson, who is reportedly looking to jump to Gillett-Evernham Motorsports next season.

Sorenson is reportedly being courted to replace rookie Patrick Carpentier in GEM’s #10 Dodge, or to drive a new, fourth Gillett-Evernham entry. He did not deny the reports Saturday at Bristol, saying, “Nothing’s happened yet. Stuff is going on, but nothing has happened yet.”

Sabates, however, said he has “a pretty good idea” that Sorenson will drive for Gillett-Evernham in 2009, and effectively bid him good riddance, saying, “I think Reed is today as good as he’s ever going to be. If somebody else wants to put him in a car, fine with us. I wish him good luck. From my point of view, his contract is over.”

For his part, Sorenson expressed frustration with the performance of the entire Ganassi team, saying, “I’ve been here for five years, and obviously we’re not running where we should be.”

If Sorenson jumps to GEM, he will almost certainly have to race his way into the first five races of the season; a prospect he said he does not look forward to. “I don’t think anybody wants to go to Daytona outside the top 35,” he said. “That’s not something you want to do. I’ve never been in that position, (and) I don’t think I want to be in that position.”

A spokesman for Gillett Evernham Motorsports had no comment Saturday, team co-owner Ray Evernham will join us Tuesday afternoon on Sirius Speedway.

Sabates also took a backhanded slap at Texaco-Havoline, calling their sponsorship “a liability,” and their departure “a blessing.

“Texaco was a great sponsor for a long time, but for the last year they really have been disconnected with the sport,” Sabates said. “They have focused on other things. We really didn’t get much support from them. The money wasn’t all that great. It is a blessing that we can go out and find somebody who can pay us some real money.

“Texaco was a liability for us because out of loyalty to them, we weren’t aggressively looking to replace them," he said. "Texaco management is disconnected from racing. All the new people don’t know what a race car looks like. We kept hoping they maybe would wake up one of these days and decide they need to be in NASCAR. I feel bad for them, they only made $6 billion last quarter.”

Sanctions Coming For Shrubby? NASCAR officials are meeting this afternoon to discuss whether Kyle Busch will be penalized for his incident with Carl Edwards on the cool-down lap of Saturday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch hit Edwards’ Ford with the right side of his Toyota as they came back to the start/finish line, and Edwards retaliated by spinning Busch out. Busch was called to the NASCAR trailer after the race for a meeting with President Mike Helton, Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series director John Darby.

Mears To RCR: Richard Childress Racing has made it official, announcing that Casey Mears will drive the team’s #07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet next season, while Clint Bowyer moves to a new #33 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Hamburger Helper and Cheerios.

Childress said his current plan is for the #07 team to keep its 2008 owner points, forcing Bowyer to qualify on time for the first five races of next season. However, Childress said he is researching the possibility of acquiring owners points from a team presently in the Top-35. In his words, “We really can’t say what the plan is, but we are definitely working on a few things.”

Asked how he feels about going into next season with no owners’ points, Bowyer said, “It beats beatin’ dents in the body shop.”

HOF Looking To Merge: Hall of Fame Racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel said his team is evaluating its options for next season, and could change manufacturers as part of a merger or partnership with another team.

Garfinkel said the team would like to remain with Toyota, but is having conversations with other teams that could result in a move from the Toyota camp. Hall Of Fame put Ken Schrader behind the wheel Saturday night at Bristol, after firing JJ Yeley and replacing him with young Brad Coleman a week earlier. Joey Logano may drive the team’s #96 Toyota later this year, as well, while the team investigates the possibility of expanding to two or more cars, via merger or acquisition.

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