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Since we are heading into the last off weekend of the year for Sprint Cup and we finally received official confirmation of Harvick to SHR last week, I thought it was time to start the 2014 Silly Season discussion.

In the next few posts I'm going to summarize some of the key players but if I miss anyone or if you have thoughts on any of these please feel free to add and continue the discussion. 

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Stewart Haas Racing

IN: 

# 4 - Harvick (moves over from RCR) -- Sponsors: Budweiser (announced 20 races), Jimmy Johns (rumored) -- CC (TBA)

#10 - Danica

#14 - Stewart 

Out:

#39 - Ryan Newman

Sponsors - Quicken Loans (rumored to be willing to follow Newman), Outback (status unknown)

#39 CC Matt Borland (expected to resume his competition/R&D role for SHR) 

Questions:

* Who will be Harvick's crew chief at SHR?  early speculation was Rodney Childers (CC #55) is a candidate, also some speculation that Gil Martin could follow Harvick to SHR

* It is rumored that Quicken Loans is willing to follow Ryan Newman to a new team but could they stay with SHR as a sponsor for some races for either Tony Stewart or Kevin Harvick?

* Who will sponsor the additional races for Kevin Harvick?  early rumors are that Jimmy John's will follow Harvick to SHR but for how many races

* Will Smoke or Danica add any additional race sponsors in 2014?

Richard Childress Racing

IN:

#27 - Menard

#31 - Burton (some speculation he will be replaced but he says he has deal for 2014)

OUT

#29 - Harvick (moves to SHR)

Possibles:

#29 - Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman

#29 rebranded as the #3 - Austin Dillon

Questions:

* Does Austin Dillon move to full-time cup for RCR in 2014? 

* RCR says they have 3 funded cars for 2014 but who will the sponsors be on the 3rd car since Budweiser is leaving?

* Does RCR have enough sponsorship to expand to 4 cars? If only 3 cars do they sign a free agent or just move up Austin Dillong?

* Does RCR remain committed to Jeff Burton (#31)? Jeff says he has a 2014 deal but there has been some speculation he could be out but primary sponsor CAT likes him so he could still finish out contract.

Hendrick Motor Sports

-- No changes expected

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

* Both Jamie McMurray (#1) and Juan Pablo Montoya (#42) are on deals expiring this year

* Will Kyle Larson be moved to Sprint Cup?

* Could a veteran such as Ryan Newman be hired as a stop gap for a year or two until Larson is ready to move up to Cup (if he doesn't move up in 2014)?

Furniture Row Racing

* Kurt Busch is on a one year deal...does he return in 2014?

* If Kurt doesn't return in 2014 do they look to sign Ryan Newman or AJ Allmendinger to replace him?

James Finch has reportedly sold his #51 Sprint Cup (Phoenix Racing) operation to an unnamed buyer... The sale is expected to be announced next week with Finch working with the new owner until September.  

The new owner has been described by Finch as new to owning a team and NASCAR but speculation is on Harry Scott of Turner Scott Motorsports.  Not really sure why if it is Harry Scott that Finch has been described as new to NASCAR?  Supposedly, the new owner has a sponsor with an associated driver that will take over in September.  Early speculation has been on Justin Allgaier & Brandt.

So I think I've covered some of the rumors around the teams associated with Chevrolet... I'll add other teams, etc. in the following days.

This one intrigues me most and I hope it's Allgaier, because he's been patient in Nationwide and should get a shot at Cup rather than a washed up veteran driver or drivers like the Labontes (sorry fellas) or guys who've had Cup opportunities in the past like Allmendinger/Regan Smith.

Honestly, I was disappointed when I saw Curt Cavin on the Indy Star's comment last week at Loudon that Allmendinger wasn't going to seek an Indycar future with Roger Penske, they could definitely use him over there.



Becky said:

James Finch has reportedly sold his #51 Sprint Cup (Phoenix Racing) operation to an unnamed buyer... The sale is expected to be announced next week with Finch working with the new owner until September.  

The new owner has been described by Finch as new to owning a team and NASCAR but speculation is on Harry Scott of Turner Scott Motorsports.  Not really sure why if it is Harry Scott that Finch has been described as new to NASCAR?  Supposedly, the new owner has a sponsor with an associated driver that will take over in September.  Early speculation has been on Justin Allgaier & Brandt.

On the Allmendinger front...guess that tells you what the pay difference is between a top IndyCar ride and a low Sprint Cup ride because I don't see Allmendinger back in a top Sprint Cup seat unless he has success on a smaller team.  

What are Allmendinger's options on the Sprint Cup side?

JTG Daughtery (#47) -- seems like best option for full-time ride

Furniture Row (#78) -- only open if Kurt Busch jumps to another team --- AJ could be a younger, cheaper alternative to Ryan Newman but would Furniture Row want to take step back with an unproven Sprint Cup driver

RPM (#9 or #43)  -- only open if RPM can't/doesn't extend Almirola and/or Ambrose 

New Phoenix Racing (#51) -- don't think this is a realistic option as report is there is sponsor/driver combo lined up already

Front Row Motorsports (#34, #35, #38)

BK Racing (#83, #93)


Damon said:

This one intrigues me most and I hope it's Allgaier, because he's been patient in Nationwide and should get a shot at Cup rather than a washed up veteran driver or drivers like the Labontes (sorry fellas) or guys who've had Cup opportunities in the past like Allmendinger/Regan Smith.

Honestly, I was disappointed when I saw Curt Cavin on the Indy Star's comment last week at Loudon that Allmendinger wasn't going to seek an Indycar future with Roger Penske, they could definitely use him over there.

Got to be the 47 for AJ

I don't know if I would be so quick to say that Allmendinger is a better driver than Labonte..

Sorry I haven't added more info to this thread... 

This article has several interesting notes about potential moves for 2014:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/richard-childress-racing-hire...!hznYF

* Newman #1 on RCR's list to replace Harvick (potentially in a package deal with CC Matt Borland)

* JTG (#47) looking at switching to Chevy and aligning with RCR

* Furniture Row (#78) exploring a switch to Toyota

This isn't really 2014 silly season news, but still significant as Danica will be doing a Goodyear tire test at Phoenix Sept. 10-11 with Ricky, Montoya and Mark Martin

Let's see if I can get back on track...

Toyota Teams

JGR - no changes expected (all drivers have long-term deals)

In

#11 - Denny Hamlin

#18 - Kyle Busch

#20 - Matt Kenseth

MWR 

In 

#15 - Clint Bowyer

#56 - Martin Truex Jr

#55 - Preference is Brian Vickers but sponsor Aaron's seems to be dragging their feet in signing off on this and that could bring Ryan Newman or AJ Allmendinger into the picture

Out

#55 - Mark Martin's part-time deal expires...will he go elsewhere or continue to work with MWR

#55 - Michael Waltrip makes a few starts a year but will this continue if they hire a full-time driver or will he go to another Toyota team rather than take starts away from his driver?

JTG 

In

#47 - Allmendinger seems the top candidate but could a Ryan Newman fall into their laps (doesn't look promising now)...also will they switch to Chevy?

Out

#47 - Bobby Labonte removed for 5 races in 2013...just don't see anyway he returns on a full-time basis in 2014

Others:

#83 & #93 - BK Racing - Reuttiman and Kvapil are on one year deals but expect they'll return if team will have them

#30 - Swan Racing - Stremme should return 

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