I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Dodges and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC
Newman Drive for Rusty??
t wasn’t all that long ago we learned Ryan Newman and Roger Penske would be getting a dee-vorce at the end of this year. You might think it a bit odd - the Dodge team that won the Daytona 500 this year would break up five months later. But the deal with those two goes back even farther.
No, Penske and Newman ain’t fussing and feudin’. Seeing how they were a hot a few years back and haven’t done much prior to wining the 500 (or since), I’m guessing their particular beaker of chemistry has gone sour.
Bottom line has Newman wheeling for somebody else next year. And that brings up a handful of questions. Is he gonna stay in a Dodge? Or is he gonna go to another brand of car? Whose car will he drive? And who will replace him in the #12 Alltel Dodge Charger. And what company will be plastered all over the #12?
Ryan Newman, as of the Indy race last week, is only saying, "I'm leaving Penske Racing. I don't have a contract to drive any place else right now. There's nothing on paper. I have offers and I'm choosing the best one."
As the usual silly season unfolds, there are really only a few openings out there this year. That’s cuz most everyone is under contract and minding those contracts. But there are a few things brewing worth talking about. One is Ray Evernham and his Gillette Motorsports looking to make themselves a four car team. Now, this is the first we’ve heard of that. Keep in mind it takes a whole bunch of time and energy to do just that. And don’t forget the economy is in about as good a shape as the brakes on my truck. (You don’t wanna drive in front of me or YOU might be my brakes!) So, putting a team together ain’t just gonna be a matter of a few months work. That’s not to say Evernham can’t do it, it just takes more time than it used to. Guess number one for Newman is he stays with Dodge and goes to Evernham. But Newman answers that with, "Ray has not contacted me.”
Guess number two is he ships over to Chevy and climbs into the fourth Richard Childress Racing/Betty Crocker car. To that, Newman says, “There have been multiple organizations that have contacted me. I will pursue what I feel is the right option."
The leading rumor these days is Newman going to the new Chevy team owned and driven by Tony Stewart. After all, they are both Indiana boys.
But Newman ain’t saying much about that deal, either.
Here’s what he IS saying that may help in guessing where he’ll end up. When asked if he has a preference of car for next year, he says, "No." And when he’s asked if he feels any loyalty to Dodge over any other brand, he gets a little snarky and says, "Well, based on the fact that I made my announcement and the people from Dodge haven't contacted me... No."
Well, hellfire, it’s getting a might juicy, now, ain’t it? Anyway, Penske hasn’t named the new driver of the #12 Dodge yet. Nor has any word come down about who will be on the sides of the #12, either. Now, Newman hasn’t been a wise-acre through all of this. He’s explained what the problem is, “I've said before - this weekend is going to be better based upon what I know - just pure performance. Whether it's horsepower or getting the cars to handle, being competitive, being consistent, strategy calls, things like that we've been good - just not great. Good gets us close to the Chase, great gets us in it."
We been watching the New-man since his days going from open wheel to stock cars in ARCA. And we’re here to tell ya this boy knows how to get up on the wheel and get the job done. Whoever gets this guy will have one smart driver.
If’n you want more snarky, take the deal between Newman and his ‘ol running buddy at Penske, Rusty Wallace. Seems like ‘ol Rusty was quoted saying that Newman was fired from Penske. To that, Newman says "I don't know what Rusty's grounds are or what he's trying to prove by saying that, it wasn't the case, point blank. Roger and I decided mutually not to continue and it was more of my decision then it was his (to leave). I said that our goals didn't align and for that reason and that reason alone, we decided not to continue after 2008."
Sounds simple enough. Then somebody asked if Rusty’s comments upset him and ‘ol Newman fires another shot and says, "Was he conscious when he said it?"
OUCH! So somebody asks if Rusty’s comments are part of the ongoing rift the two have had since about day one. And Newman says, "I guess it is because it's not true. I guess you could say that."
But hey, Ryan, how do Rusty’s comments really make you feel? "It doesn't matter to me. I know Rusty and his personalities... plural. And everybody is different."
MEEEE-OOOWWW! Even the Captain hisself, Roger Penske said that the split was a mutual decision. So it looks like ‘Ol Rusty done stuck his foot in his mouth and can’t get it out.
Now, I may be a sick puppy but I’d like to see these two man up and settle this thing once and for all on a short track somewhere. Kinda like wrasslin’s version of cage match. Ya know, two out of three falls – winner takes all, loser has to shave his head and leave town and that. I’ll even buy the big, gaudy belt!