Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Smoke: Too Late For Third SHR Entry In 2010

Tony Stewart said yesterday that he doubts Stewart-Haas Racing will expand to three-car operation in time for the 2010 season.

With both Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman solidly among the Sprint Cup Series’ Top-12, speculation is rampant that a third car could be added in time for next season. Both Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are rumored to be talking with Stewart-Haas about steering the team’s third Chevrolet next year, but Stewart said Tuesday that it’s too late to begin putting a third entry together for 2010.

“We’re at a point in the season right now where we’re getting close to the Chase, and we’re focused on that,” he said. “We would have to have the decision (and) the agreements on all that already done. We’d have to have the driver, the sponsor… done by now to be able for it to be feasible for next year.”

While repeating his desire to make Stewart-Haas a four-car team some day, the Sprint Cup points leader said now is not the time to expand. “W’re not going to have (four cars) just for the sake of having them," he said. "We want to make sure we’re running well before we add a third team, and have all three running well before we add a fourth.”

Hamlin Mea Culpa: Denny Hamlin admitted yesterday that he wrecked David Reutimann at Pocono, and said he wants to find a way to atone for his mistake.

Hamlin turned Reutimann around late in Monday’s race, triggering a wreck that also swept up Reutimann’s Michael Waltrip Racing teammate, Marcos Ambrose. It turned a sure Top-10 finish -- Reutimann was eighth at the time of the crash –- into a disappointing 29th-place showing, and badly damaged Reutimann’s bid to make the Chase for the Championship. He entered Pocono just 68 points out of the Top-12, but now is sixteenth in the standings, 121 points out.

Hamlin admitted being over-aggressive in his attempt to get to the front of the field, saying, “It was a lot of emotion. I (had) guys in my mirror that I know I’ve got to race for the win.” He said he will attempt to smooth the waters with both Reutimann and Ambrose beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen, adding, “I’ve got to make it up to those guys somehow; cut them some breaks on the track or something.”

Reutimann has taken the high road since Monday’s incident, bemoaning the crash and its impact on his championship hopes, but refusing to criticize Hamlin.

No Camaro In Nationwide: Fans hoping that General Motors would follow the example set by Ford Motor Company and enter the new Camaro in competition on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series had their hopes dashed today by news that the automaker will forge ahead with plans to campaign the Chevy Impala.

Auto Week magazine quoted GM Racing boss Mark Kent saying, "We've looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn't be. We looked at… running the Camaro in the Nationwide series. That was a request made of us by NASCAR, (but) because of the need to have templated bodies in that series, we felt that… we were compromising the bodylines of an iconic car. At the end of the day, we just could not get the Camaro in the Nationwide series to satisfy our requirements.”

Dodge and Ford will race the Challenger and Mustang, respectively, while Toyota has yet to officially announce its new Nationwide Series nameplate.

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