2010 Brickyard 400

Keep track of busy Silly Season with this scorecard (video)

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William Byron will move up to Cup next year for Hendrick Motorsports, filling a void left by the departure of Kasey Kahne.

With the news last week that Stewart-Haas Racing had declined to pick up the option for next year for Kurt Busch, it leaves the reigning Daytona 500 winner (Busch) and Brickyard 400 winner (Kahne) without an announced ride for next season.

Here’s a look at where Silly Season stands as the Cup series heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend.

ANNOUNCED RIDES FOR 2018

Erik Jones will drive the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing, replacing Matt Kenseth (announcement made July 11)

Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. (announcement made July 20)

Brad Keselowski agrees to contract extension to drive the No. 2 car for Team Penske (announcement made July 25

Ryan Blaney moves to Team Penske to drive No. 12 car and signs multi-year contract extension (announcement made July 26)

Paul Menard moves to Wood Brothers Racing to drive No. 21 car (announcement made July 26)

William Byron will drive the No. 5 at Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kasey Kahne (announcement made Aug. 9)

OPEN/POSSIBLY OPEN RIDES

— No. 10: Sponsorship has yet to be announced for next season, and Danica Patrick could be out. Patrick told USA Today on Aug. 5 that there’s “no buyout needed. I don’t have a sponsor. It’s contingent on the sponsor.’’  

— No. 27: Richard Childress Racing states it will announce its plans for a third Cup team at a later date with Paul Menard joining the Wood Brothers for next season.

— No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing declined to pick up the option on Kurt Busch’s contract for next year on Aug. 1. Even so, the team tweeted that it expected Busch back with sponsor Monster Energy for next year. Busch told reporters Aug. 5 at Watkins Glen that “there are a couple of offers already, so we’ll see how things work out.’’  

— No. 77: With Erik Jones returning to JGR, team owner Barney Visser is looking to fill that seat. The first concern, though, is sponsorship. Visser told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Aug. 9: “We’ve got no sponsorship right now for the 77,” for next season. “So We’ve got to find something. We don’t want to give up that car, but if we don’t get sponsorship, we’ll have to.” Sponsor 5-Hour Energy has an option to return. The company can’t go to any other Cup team with Monster Energy as series sponsor.

AVAILABLE DRIVERS

Matt Kenseth: Out of the No. 20 after this season. Doesn’t have anything for next year at this point. Key could be what kind of salary he’s willing to take next year. On his future, Kenseth said last weekend at Watkins Glen: “Believe it or not, it’s really not at the front of my mind.’’  

Kurt Busch: With Stewart-Haas Racing declining to pick up his option for next year, Busch is a free agent. Even with Stewart-Haas Racing’s action, there’s still a chance Busch could sign a new deal to remain with the organization.

Kasey Kahne: The 2017 Brickyard 400 winner is available after Hendrick Motorsports announced it had released him from the final year of his contract. Rick Hendrick said Aug. 9 that he’s working to help Kahne land a ride for next season and hinted it could through an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports. 

Danica Patrick: Sponsorship uncertainty leaves her status murky for next year.

Aric Almirola: Hasn’t been announced yet as returning to Richard Petty Motorsports next season. He’s tied closely to sponsor Smithfield, which also is in its final year with the team, but Richard Petty has said he’s confident Smithfield will return.

Chris Buescher: He said previously he plans to be back at JTG Daugherty with Roush Fenway Racing expecting to remain a two-car team with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. That leaves no room there for Buescher, who was loaned to JTG this season. No deal is in place yet. “We are working on next year, trying to get everything in place,’’ Buescher said last month at Indianapolis. “We should have more information in the next couple of months.’’

GMS Racing/Spencer Gallagher: This could be one of the wildcards. This Xfinity team is exploring a move to Cup if it makes financial sense. Some in the garage believe this team will move and could be a two-car team with Spencer Gallagher and a veteran driver. GMS already has an engine deal in the Xfinity Series with Hendrick Motorsports but would need to upgrade that for a Cup effort and possibly add a technical alliance (it has one with JR Motorsports). It also would need to get at least one charter, if not two.

Darrell Wallace Jr.He continues to look for an opportunity after his Xfinity ride with Roush Fenway Racing went away in June because of lack of sponsorship and Aric Almirola returned to the No. 43 earlier this month from injury after Wallace filled in for a few races. Wallace showed well in Almirola’s ride. Key is to find sponsorship. Wallace said Aug. 4 that he’s focused on finding a ride for next year with so few options left for this year.

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Jamie McMurray has unique memory of Brickyard 400 win, also tells why he is so reserved behind the wheel

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Oh baby, does Jamie McMurray remember his win in the 2010 Brickyard 400 – but for a reason you might not think about.

Sure, he recalls the excitement of crossing the finish line and taking the checkered flag, but there’s an even greater memory that McMurray took away from one of the biggest wins of his career.

“For me, when I look back at the picture of getting to kiss the bricks, it’s special for a lot of different reasons,” McMurray told reporters Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “One of those was because (wife) Christy was pregnant with (son) Carter, 7 months I think with a big belly.

“And I remember on that day as we kissed the bricks, looking at her and telling her what a special memory we were going to have with him and the fact that we’ve won the race and we’re kissing the bricks and he’s in your belly.

“We have that picture in our motor home and we talk about it each weekend. Carter is four and a half, and he doesn’t completely understand how important this track is to all of us. … He doesn’t quite get it and as special as it is, but for me, when I look back to that day, that’s one of the memories that pops up first.”

Being a good role model for his kids, son Carter and 2 ½-year-old daughter Hazel, is important for McMurray. He’s rarely heard screaming or cussing or the like on his team radio when things go wrong – and there’s a reason for that, he says.

“I think I do a better job of hiding it than everybody else,” McMurray said. “I also don’t key the radio when I’m mad or when I have something to say.  I don’t know why people key the radio to announce to the world what they are feeling.  That takes thought to actually key the radio and say everything.  I have moments just like everybody else.  I just don’t let everyone see it.

“There is not really a lot to gain by that.  I have two kids who love watching NASCAR.  I don’t want them to hear that. I’ve never been the guy to key the radio and say that, but after having kids you are consciously … I am … I’m not going to put that out there.

“Not only if there are kids and people scanning, but also for McDonald’s, for Cessna, for all of our partners. There are a lot of people in the suites that are listening and I just don’t think that is appropriate.

“Now, I think some people get off on keying the radio and making an ass of themselves. I just don’t. I just say it to myself and have my own moment inside the car.”

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