SILLY SEASON SPECULATION
Dale Wilkerson June 2011
In a recent article, I wrote about an answer for the feud between driver Kyle Busch and teams owned by Richard Childress where I speculated about Kyle Busch perhaps driving for RCR. So who would leave RCR? What driver goes to Gibbs to take over the #18 ride?
We have all seen over the years when a big domino falls into place in Silly Season, other quickly follow, so let’s see which way the wind is blowing and make a few predictions or speculations as to what could (please note key word is could here) happen to the Sprint Cup driver lineup for 2012.
Mark Martin to Red Bull Racing has been mentioned since the announcement last year that Kasey Kahne will be working for Rick Hendrick next season. I don’t think so. I will make my first speculation, Mark Martin to the Shell Dodge of Roger Penske. If this happens, I look for Kurt Busch to make the move to Red Bull Racing. A lot of Mark Martin fans would like to see him back in the number six car with Jack Roush, but I don’t think that will happen.
Brian Vickers has not yet been re-signed for the second Red Bull car and he could land somewhere else next season as well. What about a Joey Logano – Brain Vickers trade? This could be just what the doctor ordered for both drivers.
Coach Joe Gibbs may be ready for a driver with a better image for the #18 car and a perfect fit would be Jeff Burton. So if this happened, RCR could put Busch in his stable, which might make Kevin Harvick decide to put his Nationwide team up to Sprint Cup, but I think he would stay put at least for a year.
Other potential drivers looking to change rides could be Martin Truex, Juan Montoya, David Regan, and don’t forget Carl Edwards has not signed an extension for 2012.
If Edwards decides to leave Roush, consider all of the above speculations both null and void.
So what if Gibbs signs Edwards? Even though Edwards roughed up Keselowski a couple of times last year, he still has that ‘good guy’ image. Would Burton have a homecoming with Jack Roush? Maybe, but even though Mark Martin and Jeff Burton were gentleman when Roush dumped them, neither one of them may not want to return. If Burton decides to bolt, that would leave an empty set at RCR for Kyle Busch or perhaps an even younger driver, like maybe Austin Dillon. Some folks feel that he is ready to make the step up to cup.
All of the above is merely speculation of things that could happen when Silly Season kicks into overdrive in just a matter of weeks.