NEWS, RUMORS AND INNUENDO, FROM ONE END OF SILLY SEASON TO THE OTHER
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
AS THE RUMOR MILL CHURNS, 7/16/08
As Stock Car Talk reported earlier in the week, and now buffeted by a recent CBS Sportsline.com report, Joe Gibbs Racing may not be entirely comfortable putting Joey Logano into the #20 car full-time in 2009. There continues to be serious talk within the organization about putting a veteran driver in the car for most of ’09, allowing Logano to run a full Nationwide schedule and a few select Cup races before going full-time with the big boys in 2010.
Based on conversations with various garage sources, it’s sounding more and more likely that David Stremme will replace Ryan Newman in the #12 Dodge next year. And just why would that be? Because Penske Racing’s top choice as the replacement for Newman, Martin Truex Jr., is very likely headed to Richard Childress Racing if the wrangling over his Dale Earnhardt Inc. contract can be worked out. Stremme currently conducts tests for Penske Racing, and has seen the organization take a shining to him over the course of the last couple of months.
Speaking of Truex, the whispers of his moving on to Stewart-Haas Racing and being the driver of a yet-to-be-formed third team will not go away. There is no concrete evidence that there will even be a third team at SHR in ’09, let alone with Truex behind the wheel, but the rumors of such a move are out there and slowly gaining momentum.
Much like the above-mentioned Truex rumor, the talk of Juan Pablo Montoya leaving Ganassi Racing at season’s end and moving to Penske will not go away either. While the Montoya speculation is out there, two well-placed sources called Montoya leaving his current team a very remote possibility at best.
One place Truex will not be headed in ’09? Penske Racing, and you can take that one to the bank and forget any rumors you hear which state otherwise. Truex has heard the talk regarding the inner-workings at Penske, and does not want to go from one dysfunctional organization to another.
Casey Mears, released from his Hendrick Motorsports’ contract effective at the end of the 2008 season, could very well land at DEI should the rumors of Truex leaving DEI for RCR/SHR and Stremme filling the #12 Dodge spot come to fruition. However, there is one source SCT speaks to on a regular basis who continues to insist that Mears will land at Penske when everything is all said and done. No offense to the source, but such an opinion is seemingly based on Mears’ and Penske’s open-wheel ties, with Casey’s uncle Rick Mears serving as a consultant to Penske being the impetus to such a rumor.