Germain Racing states that car owner Bob Germain “is exploring conversations for a potential sale” as the team ponders its 2021 plans.
The team issued a statement Tuesday in response to its 2021 plans, stating: “At this time, anything is on the table. Germain Racing does not have a signed sponsorship contract for 2021 and Bob Germain is exploring conversations for a potential sale.”
Germain Racing debuted in the Cup Series in 2009 with Max Papis running a partial schedule. In 2010, Papis and Casey Mears ran a majority of the season. Ty Dillon joined the team in 2017. His best career finish is fourth at the July 2019 Daytona race with the team. Dillon is 27th in points this season entering Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Dillon spoke in late August about the challenges facing single-car teams in Cup.
“The model is very tough right now for single-car teams,” he said. “I’m hoping that NASCAR is going to change it and help on it. But it needs to change for one-car teams to be more successful that haven’t already been at the top level of the sport or have an incredible about of money to leapfrog into the top spot. If you don’t have three or four teams to spread the wealth with big name sponsors and a lot of money behind the effort, it’s just not a model that’s going to survive long term.”
Marks, who once was a co-owner of an ARCA Menards West team with the late Harry Scott, said a goal of the team is to “serve America’s minorities and underrepresented youth population”
Marks told SBJ he is in negotiations to acquire a charter for the team, that his family foundation will use investment capital to fund 50% of the team’s budget and that a “nationwide family entertainment business” will be a sponsor.
One of Marks’ partners will be Ty Norris, a former executive at Michael Waltrip Racing.
The work that @NASCAR is doing on the future of the sport is 100% what is needed. It’s been a dream of mine to compete at the highest levels in the sport and the business. Announcements to come. https://t.co/f4ilQiLKBR
Blaise Alexander always beat Johnson across the finish line.
Alexander and Johnson got to be close friends when they raced against each other in what is now the Busch Series. As good of friends as they were, it made them want to beat the other that much more.
Alexander was killed in a crash during an ARCA race Oct. 4, 2001 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was 25. Earlier that night, Johnson qualified for his first Cup race.
When Johnson drove his Busch car that weekend, one of his crew members, who was also was friends with Alexander, drew flames and Alexander’s initials on the front left bumper of Johnson’s car. That way Alexander would always cross the finish line before Johnson.
Johnson’s cars have paid homage to Alexander since. For a while, the design was drawn on to each car with a marker. Eventually, a decal was made and affixed in the same spot below the left front headlight sticker. Later, the tail number for the Hendrick plane that crashed and killed 10 was added to Alexander’s tribute.
During Thursday’s press conference, Johnson’s emotions remained steady as he explained the reasons why 2020 will be his final full-time Cup season.
But when asked about Alexander and how next year would mark the final year of the tribute on Johnson’s cars at NASCAR tracks, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson was taken aback.
He closed his eyes briefly, turned his head and was momentarily silent before saying, “wow” and shook his head.
“He was a very special friend,” Johnson said, taking a deep breath.
In previous years, if a team or manufacturer was behind in one season, they could count on rule changes to possibly give them a better chance the next season. That won’t be the case next year.
So it leads to the question of what is to prevent a repeat of this season with Joe Gibbs Racing winning more than half the Cup races and putting three of its four cars in the championship race and winning the title?
“I would just say it’s all about optimizing all of your testing time and your simulation time to give the drivers the best chance of unloading quick, adjusting quickly and then executing in the race,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports for Chevrolet. “I think that’s really what it’s about. There’s limited on-track testing, so it really comes down heavily to simulation, driver loop activity.
“There is some aero testing. We’re limited, so we have to make sure every minute of those aero tests is productive, so that’s what we’ll do as a team. We have three major teams and we have a number of affiliates that we’ll use that to our best advantage. But it’s going to be about execution.”
Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, said he feels his teams can continue progressing with the package that will be used again next year.
“The rules changes for 2019, it took us a while to get our teams and our own heads around what those changes were and the aerodynamic effects especially, and I think we’ve seen some stronger performance in the latter half of the year, which we hope to continue into 2020,” he said. “I would also say that there are still rule changes for 2020, although the packages aren’t changing, some of the things like reduced wind tunnel time will be in place, and the effectiveness of your tools like aero, computational fluid dynamics will come into play more than wind tunnel testing is today. There’s still going to be, I think, some balance shifts. Maybe we’ll see who has the best aero CFD tool.”
But Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, said this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” that it is not as easy as that. He explained, describing what makes Homestead-Miami Speedway such a good track and why it’s hard to replicate that elsewhere.
“The variable degree banking is a terrific design,” Stucker said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It creates racing in multiple grooves. The surface itself is pretty worn now, so that’s really what promotes the (tire) falloff that we see at Homestead over the course of a fuel run, about 2 1/2 seconds through the course of those runs.
“You have to be very careful to say that we can go in and design a tire that is going to produce that kind of falloff at any given race track. The falloff you see at Homestead is because of that race track and the worn surface. The same would be true of Darlington. The same would be true at Chicago and Atlanta. Those are worn surfaces that have lost some of their mechanical grip. … You have to be very careful (to) say we want to do that at every race track because at some places it’s just not possible. The surface itself just has enough mechanical grip that it just won’t work.
“We don’t want to artificially influence falloff or tire wear because that leads to not a good situation. You want something that is a natural progression from a wear and a falloff perspective.”
4. Who will be the fourth?
Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and moderator for Jimmie Johnson’s news conference Thursday, noted that few would question Johnson’s place on NASCAR’s Mount Rushmore of drivers. Kelley raised the question of who would be the fourth.
It leads to an interesting debate. Presuming NASCAR’s Mount Rushmore features its three seven-time champions — Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Johnson — there could be quite a debate for the fourth spot.
Is it David Pearson? His 105 victories rank second on the all-time list. He rarely ran a full season but he did win three championships. Petty has said that he considers Pearson the sport’s greatest driver.
Or is it Jeff Gordon? His 93 victories are third on the all-time wins list and he has four championships in an era that was arguably more competitive than Pearson’s era.
Or is there a case to be made for Cale Yarborough? While his 83 career wins are one less than Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip each, Yarborough won three consecutive championships, a record that seemed unbreakable until Johnson won five in a row from 2006-10.
Or is it someone else?
5. Moving on
Overshadowed by Jimmie Johnson’s news this week was Justin Marks’ announcement Thursday that he was “hanging up the helmet.”
His one win came in the rain at Mid-Ohio in the 2016 Xfinity race there. No one could match him in the downpour there.
After 20 years, 400+ professional starts, 20+ wins, and the experience of a lifetime, I’m hanging up the helmet. Deeply appreciative of the amazing friendships I’ve made. I have not deserved this journey. Onwards and upwards. Time to reinvent. pic.twitter.com/vpTybtt5Pz
Marks has always looked at the sport in a different way with his background in multiple racing series. After finishing second in the inaugural Roval Xfinity race in 2018, Marks lauded the new way Charlotte Motor Speedway was used and said NASCAR could do more, suggesting a street course event.
“I’m a huge believer you have to take your product to the people,” Marks said that day. “In 2012, I went to the Long Beach Grand Prix as a competitor in the Pirelli World Challenge Series and I remember spending the weekend at that race there looking around at 100,000 people and thinking that 90,000 of these people aren’t racing fans. They’re here because it’s a great cultural event.
“I think that the days of people driving 500 miles from their home to spend four days at a race track camping are numbered.”
While he admitted there would be challenges with a Cup street race, he said: “I think it could be a hell of a show if they did it, especially if they went to a market like Detroit or LA or South Florida, or if they managed to pull something off in Nashville or Austin or something like that, great cultural hubs and great markets.”
As NASCAR looks to alter its schedule in the future, Marks’ words could prove prophetic.
START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.
PRERACE: Garage opens at 8:30 a.m. Qualifying is 12:10 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. The invocation will be given by David Ragan at 3:30 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed at 3:31 p.m. by Brittany Lee Pasquale.
DISTANCE: The race is 67 laps (155.3 miles) around the 2.28-mile road course (Last year’s race was 55 laps).
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 20. Stage 2 ends on Lap 40.
TV/RADIO:NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green, with the race broadcast beginning at 3:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 3 p.m. and also can be heard on goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.
The Cup Series holds the third and final race of its opening round. The four lowest-ranked playoff drivers will be eliminated. The Xfinity Series holds the second race of the opening round of its playoffs.
The Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off until Oct. 12 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race:
Cup – Bank of America Roval 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)
There are 40 cars entered.
Veteran NASCAR driver and team owner Joe Nemechek will make his third Cup start of the season, driving the No. 27 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet.
Timmy Hill will make his fourth start of the season, driving the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota.
NBC NASCAR analyst Parker Kligerman will make his 11th Cup start of the season, driving the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota.
Josh Bilicki is listed driving the No. 53 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.