June 05, 2008
Sometimes you just get to wonderin'…
• Why are there strong rumors in the NASCAR garage that Chip Ganassi is in the process of selling his NASCAR operation? Some have hinted that Chip is selling his assets to Roger Penske, another Dodge operation.
"Preposterous," says Dodge's Mike Accavitti. As if Accavitti is going to say anything. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised that when asked by a reporter last week, it was the first Accavitti had heard about it and was caught off guard when asked.
Ganassi's NASCAR operations have been in turmoil since the start of the season and there are no signs that things are getting any better. A failed deal to bring in a wealthy partner and the prospect of losing a good deal of Target dollars next season have to be a bit unsettling.
It wouldn't be too far of a stretch for Ganassi to just say "been there, done that" and head back to racing in the IRL full time, with three cars. After all, his Indy car organization is arguably the best American open wheel team in the past two decades, so why not go where you've had the most success and build upon it?
Having Ganassi focus full time on his IRL operations would also help put the pieces of that Humpty Dumpty of a series back together again. And I doubt Ganassi would care for more than ten minutes about what people will say when and if he does pack it up from NASCAR and head where the getting is good.
I wonder how much Montoya's contract is worth? And where does he head? Lots of people say the 20 car at Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Why are there so many rumors about Bruton Smith buying additional race tracks to get a Cup date for his newly acquired Kentucky Speedway? Smith is a savvy businessman and he wouldn't have purchased the best track in America without a Cup date unless he had a plan.
Take an existing date from one of his current tracks.
New Hampshire? Forget it. That place is a cash cow according to a source working at SMI. Two dates a year there, plus once Smith "Brutonizes" the joint with a new, fan-friendly infield area where he can make even more money, then adds a drag strip which will instantly be awarded an NHRA event and the recently acquired Loudon facility will make even more money for SMI.
Where does he take the date? How about Atlanta? That place rarely sells out either of its dates, especially the fall date, the one in the Chase – although if that fall date is moved, it would certainly work better as a second date in Las Vegas.
So then, do you take a date from Bristol? Maybe you take the spring date and increase the ticket price for the August night race, making it an even more valuable and "must-see" event? Don't think for a minute that fans won't spend double what they're spending now for a ticket to that one.
How about taking a date from Lowe's? Their fall event never sells out and with all the noise that the new dragstrip is bound to make, it will make the neighbors happy if there's one less weekend a year without the crowds and noise descending upon Concord.
Would Smith sell off Infineon to land developers? Maybe. That would open up a date, too. But, there's been quite a bit of money spent at that track and more importantly, it has a drag strip. No sale there.
There's the key – drag racing. Bruton loves drag racing and will one day (soon, I hope) purchase the NHRA and turn that series into a huge moneymaker not only for its new owner, but spread the wealth to all the hard working participants who supply their fans with quite possibly the most thrilling auto racing on the planet.
Talk about an undervalued sports series!
A few more things:
• What is going on with Bobby Labonte? Where is the former Cup champion planning on racing in 2009? We've never had a formal announcement from the Petty organization? Is that fourth car still available at RCR?
• When will Tony Stewart announce his new deal – with UPS as his sponsor? And is there a buyout clause in his contract with JGR, which is why he's never "asked to be released" from his contract?
See you all at Pocono this weekend!
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