I wrote earlier this summer that with the way that NASCAR Silly Season was going to play out, there’s a good chance that at least one of the three “Ks” as far as free agency goes, won’t have a ride in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Now, with how things are playing out, there’s a very real chance that at least two of them now won’t be on the grid on a full-time basis in 2018.
All the rides are filling up quickly. Currently, the only major seats open are the No. 77 Toyota with Furniture Row Racing, the No. 43 Ford with Richard Petty Motorsports, the No. 41 and No. 10 Fords with Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 27 Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing. That’s really it.
With GMS announcing that they’re not moving up to Cup for 2018, if you’re one of Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne or Kurt Busch, those are the four rides you’re down to. But, who’s to say those four rides will even be around next season?
FRR has said that in order for that ride to continue, they need funding. Neither of these three drivers brings any money.
RPM just lost their sponsor and they too need funding. If either of these two rides show up at Daytona next February, the driver in each of them brought a check. Kenseth, Kahne and Busch aren’t bringing a check.
So, at the moment, those two rides are out.
That leaves RCR and SHR open.
RCR needs a check for that ride too, or they’re happy to just scale back to two full-time teams and an alliance with Germain Racing. But, don’t discount that rumor that RCR and RPM could merge now. Maybe the 27 dissolves into the 43. Really, if the third RCR seat is going to be used, you better bring money.
So, that leaves just the third and fourth seats with SHR, one of which Busch currently occupies. SHR has said they’d like him back and that it’s up to Busch if he wants to take less money. Busch, he’s a smart guy and has to see how this is playing out. It’s time he just takes their offer, because if not, Kahne is the only other fit.
Kenseth, said on Wednesday that he’s not a target for any of the SHR seats, so he’s down to just Furniture Row, RCR or RPM. All of which need money that Kenseth doesn’t have.
Kahne and Almirola are tabbed for the other SHR seat in the No. 10 Ford.
That’s why I think now out of Kenseth, Kahne and Busch, two of which will be without a ride for 2018.
Between them, the Brickyard 400 and Daytona 500 champions from this year alone may not be back. Combined, they’ve won two championships (2003, 2004) 85 races, including one Brickyard 400 and three Daytona 500s (all since 2009) and five Coca-Cola 600s.