After a few weeks off, silly season came back on Tuesday with a few announcements. The first was David Reutimann agreeing to a one year deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing. This comes at great relief to Reutimann fans who had hoped that he would stay in the Sprint Cup Series and not have to make anymore terrible commercials. The second bit of news involved Reutimann’s former boss, Michael Waltrip potentially working on a deal to buy the remaining assets of Red Bull Racing. And finally we close with what is becoming a running joke in the NASCAR garage, how badly can David Ragan get screwed over during the off season. Well, it just got a lot worse for him and I don’t see any coming back from this one.
It was announced that Tommy Baldwin Racing and David Reutimann will join forces in 2012 for at least 26 races next year. And yes, all that preparing of our NASCAR 2012 preview just got mucked up because of this announcement. Another good nugget from this announcement was that Dave Blaney has been confirmed as back driving the #36 car, but Golden Corral would not be back with the team. There was no confirmation on what number Reutimann would use, although #35 was used last year when they let Geoffrey Bodine wreck some of their cars. So with two unsponsored cars on a shoe string budget, I’m not ready to begin jumping for joy on Reutimann’s chances. Now, it’s great he’s getting another shot instead of fading into obscurity like Brian Vickers, I just don’t know how much he’s going to do out there. Just add me to the list that hopes they can pull another Golden Corral out of their hats for 2012.
The confusing world of Michael Waltrip Racing just got more confusing. Dave Moody is reporting that Michael Waltrip is in negotiations to purchase the leftovers of Red Bull Racing. I, at first glance, assumed it was a maneuver to get points, but if you read more they’re buying equipment. I alluded to this a few weeks ago that someone could purchase a lot of equipment at a discounted price to start up a second, third, or fourth team. Now, right now they’re dispelling the fourth team for MWR, but it makes you think. That or he’s going to take the points from the old #4 car then flip the tainted points of the #83 to someone else. And side note, I hate how this has been come common practice for teams to “merge” on paper for points because of the top 35 rule. That’s how Cal Wells got part ownership of MWR (before being removed via pitchforks and fire) or when there was a Penske-Jasper Racing team. Don’t be surprised if we see Michael Waltrip try the Daytona 500 in fourth team with this, although that again is being dispelled.
This is straight out of a movie script. And I will re-cap this because being the jerk I am, I can’t help but keep laughing at how this all played out. Ragan loses his gig with one of the top tier teams, resigned to muddling around 30th he agrees to drive for Phoenix Racing. Once Kurt Busch and Penske Racing part ways, Ragan takes back he agreement betting on being the best option available for the #22. Then out of left field, A.J. Allmendinger is fired and Ragan is passed over. Then passed over for the team he already agreed to drive for, Phoenix Racing, who picked Busch. He’s then penciled in as Allmendinger’s replacement at Richard Petty Motorsports, but out of nowhere Aric Almirola (not official…yet) is picked over him. But it’s ok, Almirola drove for JR Motorsports, one of the top Nationwide teams. Surely Ragan, former Sprint Cup Series winning driver, can’t get passed over. There’s no way a promising up and coming driver with a much better name becomes available when his sponsor exits the sport. Yup, that just happened David. Jayski via the Florida Times-Union is reporting JR Motorsports have reached an agreement with Cole Whitt to drive their #88 Chevrolet in 2012. As I said before David, there’s always Subway. But back to Whitt, this is a great move by JR Motorsports. Whitt has the talent, the name, and drive to make it big in NASCAR. This puts him in line for a Hendrick Motorsports ride down the road or maybe a sister team lead by one Tony Stewart.