Nationwide and Sprint Cup head to the wire and Happy goes to SHR?
This year the Nationwide Series is seeing that same scenario. Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Elliott Sadler both have 1170 points, but Ricky Stenhouse has the points lead, as he has six wins to Elliott's 4. In order to win the Championship, as Elliott desperately wants to do, he needs to finish ahead of Ricky, preferably with a win. Qualifying is underway as I write this, a day later than normal because of my work schedule, and neither of these young men has qualified yet.
Elliott Sadler has said he is quite certain he will not return to Richard Childress Racing for 2013. Richard Childress, himself, has said that while he has the capabilities to do so, he will provide rides for his family. Both of his grandson's, Austin Dillon in Nationwide and Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series, are showing a talent for driving. Remember, Richard was a driver before relinquishing the driver's seat to become an owner.
The obvious point here is that as both young men progress, they will undoubtedly end up in Sprint Cup rides. One of them, likely Austin as he is the older of the two, will likely end up in the 3 car. RCR currently is a three car operation, with another driver occasionally running a fourth. For the Daytona 500 in 2013, that fourth driver will be Austin Dillon, running the 33.
Okay, so in the last couple of days we have heard, read or seen the rumor that Kevin Harvick will move over to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. SHR has always said their goal is to be a four car team, and with the expansion to three for 2013, including Danica Patrick, 3/4 of that goal will be achieved.
All of those facts above make this rumor one of the very easiest to believe. After all, Austin Dillon will undoubtedly move to Sprint Cup in 2014, with Ty moving to Nationwide.
Add to those facts the performance by RCR in Sprint Cup this year. Kevin Harvick is winless this year, as are his teammates, Jeff Burton, 19th in points and Paul Menard, 16th in points. Kevin sits 11th in points and the only reason he isn't in 12th is because Dale Jr missed two races. He is roughly 20 points back of Greg Biffle so is unlikely to move up, and being 50 points ahead of Jr. means that is where he will finish. Last year RCR combined to win 6 races.
Oh, and remember Clint Bowyer? Yeah, he's the guy RCR didn't have room for any more. Where is he in the standings? Third. That's right, the guy who was elbowed out of the Childress organization first is still in the hunt for the Championship, driving for....WHAT?? WHO??? Michael Waltrip Racing??? How can that be??
Unfortunately, as much as I have cheered for RCR over the years, becoming a Dale Sr fan only after his wreck at Talladega showed he really was human, I am dismayed to see the organization falter the way it is.....again. A couple of years ago Kevin Harvick had a bad season and thought seriously about "turning a new page" and decided to give RCR another chance. He signed a contract extension, which is due to expire at the end of next year. But the time has come for Kevin to move. He and Tony were partners, of a sort, when Tony drove for Kevin Harvick Inc. in both the Truck Series and Nationwide. After all, who else could grab DeLana's ass and not get punched out?
It's a great fit. They get along well, they talk, they socialize and they have the same goals. They want to win.
Maybe SHR, RCR or Kevin haven't confirmed the rumors yet, but this is a match that needs to happen. And truthfully?? I wish it would happen NEXT year, not in 2014.
As for the race? Well, we know Jimmie is leading the points. We know Bad Brad is 7 points back. We know I don't want Jimmie to win again. I'll satisfy myself cheering for Dale Jr, Brad or Kevin to win the race and try to ignore all the JJ hype.
For me the Nationwide race this afternoon is the one to watch. Be it Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler or Austin Dillon in the Championship at Homestead, it will be exciting.
Oh and the Truck Series? In case you missed last night's race, two of the top three in points had accidents. Timothy Peters is the only one of the Championship contenders who finished in the top ten. This series could be a nail biter as well.
So, if you are a NASCAR fan, there is plenty of racing to watch over the next week.