Each year some drivers in NASCAR's elite series must deal with a plague called the "Silly Season." Some years this situation starts early or later in the year.
Drivers trying to find or extend their contract for the next season and beyond is dubbed the "Silly Season."
Each year some of the most talented drivers are trying to negotiate an extension with their current race team. Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing are at this point now. For the past couple of months Bowyer and RCR have been battling over the length of his contract. Bowyer wants a three-year deal and RCR has only offered a one-year contract.
So, Bowyer has been shopping his services in the Sprint Cup garage. Richard Petty Motorsports was the first team to put an offer on the table, but in the past week withdrew their offer, deciding to go another direction.
Michael Waltrip Racing has now jumped at the chance to land Bowyer in their garage. He would join Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann driving Toyotas. No formal offer or deal has yet been announced, but the atmosphere feels like MWR and Bowyer will be announcing a deal in the near future. Bowyer has a limited sponsorship with 5-Hour Energy to go along with his driving services next year.
Another top driver searching for a ride in 2012 is Brian Vickers. His current team, Red Bull Racing, will be closing its doors next season unless the team can find a buyer and sponsor for the cars. Vickers has driven for Red Bull since they started their operation in Sprint Cup in 2007.
One scenario on the horizon is Mark Martin joining forces with Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart will be starting up a third team next year in preparation for Danica Patrick. Patrick will be competing in the Nationwide Series full-time in 2012, but wll run eight to 10 races in Sprint Cup. This leaves more than 20 races for an alternative driver. Martin has stated he is looking for a prime-time ride after giving up his seat at Hendrick Motorsports to Kasey Kahne. Martin would make an additional mentor for Patrick, besides Stewart, and also give the team a driver to run the remaining races.
So these drivers will be looking for rides next season, but for now they are just a few of the drivers dealing with NASCAR's "Silly Season." The sky is the limit where some of these drivers will land, but as a faithful fan of NASCAR, each will be crossing the finish in a ride next season.
Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsand sentinel.com