After taking the holidays to recharge and fight this never ending cold, it’s time to park myself in the recliner and share my view of what is going on in the world of NASCAR.
To be honest, the view right now is foggy at best. There are a ton of questions that need to be answered. Some we will never find out the true answer (How long is the contract with Monster Energy and how much did they pay to sponsor the premiere series?) and many others we will find out on the track.
Last year, the Charter system was going to help give owners something tangible for their teams if they decide to get out. This off-season, we have watched so many charters move around that it is hard to figure out who actually owns charters.
According to NASCAR.com, here is the updated charter shuffle as we get close to the Clash.
Premium Motorsports sold this Charter to Furniture Row Racing for its second team, the No. 77. In 2016, the Charter was leased by the No. 46 team of HScott Motorsports.
Richard Petty Motorsports is leasing the No. 44 Charter to the No. 32 team of Go Fas Racing in 2017 and Roush Fenway Racing will lease the No. 16 Charter to JTG Daugherty Racing’s newly formed second team (No. 37) in 2017.
Near the end of the 2016 season, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its Charter to Leavine Family Racing.
HScott Motorsports’ No. 15 Charter was sold to Premium Motorsports and Go Fas Racing is leasing the No. 32 Charter to the No. 21 team of Wood Brothers Racing.
Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group merged operations to field the No. 33 team with the Charter Circle Sport had. In 2016, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the No. 95 for the season.
BK Racing sold the No. 83 Charter to Front Row Motorsports, who is leasing the Charter to TriStar Motorsports for the 2017 season.
This charter shuffling makes me worry about the sport’s future. That is something we can attack later in the season.
Three big questions in 2017:
- Will the new even lower downforce package help the racing product?
- How big are the sponsor issues at Stewart-Haas Racing with plenty of inventory available on the 10 and 14 cars?
- Will there be a surprise driver who makes the playoffs like Chris Buescher did in 2016?
Three things I think will happen:
- Dodge will announce they will return to the sport with a surprise team in the lead of the effort.
- Danica Patrick will be replaced at Stewart-Haas Racing by Matt Kenseth.
- William Byron replaces Kasey Kahne at Hendrick Motorsports, Erik Jones replaces Kenseth at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kahne replaces Jones at Furniture Row Racing.
Enjoy the wreck fest this Saturday and we’ll talk next week with my thoughts on the Clash and the new race formats.