Stewart-Haas Looking For Sponsor, Driver To Take Sprint Cup Events Danica Will Not Race
Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner Tony Stewart last week signed Danica Patrick to a deal that will have her competing in 8-10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events for his team next year, and Stewart now is "looking for another driver to run some more races for the organization's new third team," according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. Stewart "would like to find another driver and sponsor to fill the rest of the 36-race schedule for the new team." He said, "If we can put together a package to run somebody in the rest of the races, we would love to do that. It's in everybody's best interest to do that and I know it would be good for us as a team to run that car full time next year if that opportunity presents itself" (SCENEDAILY.com, 8/26). ESPN.com's David Newton said Stewart is "looking for a driver to finish out" Patrick's Cup schedule and a "sponsor so they can keep that car in the top-35 for the remainder of the season." Newton: "That's very important for Danica to guarantee she's in those races so she will have time to learn in the Cup series. It's also important for sponsor Go Daddy because they want to be in each one of these races" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/27). But ESPN's Rusty Wallace said Stewart-Haas fielding a third Cup entry "has me a little bit concerned." Wallace: "What I'm wondering is, 'Hey Stewart-Haas, you're struggling right now.' Tony Stewart is right there at the very end of maybe getting out of this Chase, and not making it. ... With the car struggling and they've already got two teams, it makes me wonder what in the world they were thinking with the third team." He added, "I realize it is extra money, but a lot of times the money doesn't make the car go faster" ("NASCAR Countdown," ESPN2, 8/27).
DON'T HATE THE PLAYER: The AP's Jenna Fryer noted no one "gets a job driving race cars at the top level without sponsorship, and those who successfully find a corporate partner will always get the rides." Patrick and her marketing team "have mastered the auto racing business model, creating a lucrative and long-term relationship with GoDaddy.com." Patrick has "done a remarkable job of building her brand, and with it comes a public interest that reaches far beyond the diehard race fan." Fryer: "Maybe that's unfair to the Justin Allgaiers of the world, the kind of drivers who fight and claw for a shot and consistently fall short of that one big break because of a lack of sponsorship. ... But it's the system that's the problem, not Patrick. She played it perfectly" (AP, 8/29).
SHAKING THINGS UP: ESPN.com's Newton noted although driver Clint Bowyer "hopes to return to Richard Childress Racing" in '12, he is "weighing offers from other teams," including Richard Petty Motorsports. RPM Majority Owner Andrew Murstein Saturday indicated that Bowyer "has an offer to drive a third car next year." Murstein added, "We've been thinking about a third team for the last sixth months or so, and we're close to doing something. I don't know if it will be Clint." RCR Owner Richard Childress said that he "still expects things to work out with Bowyer." For his part, Bowyer has said he "hopes" to return to RCR (ESPN.com, 8/27). Sponsorship "appears to be one of the hang-ups in Bowyer getting any deals done, but it's widely believed that Bowyer has personally secured enough money for at least 20 races from 5-Hour Energy" (AP, 8/27). Meanwhile, Penske Racing Owner Roger Penske said Saturday that he "hopes to field two full-time Nationwide programs in 2012," including one for Sam Hornish Jr." (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/28).