The Five: Best Silly Season Moves
Now that the Chase for the Sprint Cup has arrived - complete with plenty of controversy - the subject of NASCAR's Silly Season has moved to the back burner somewhat. But it's still critically important as next year draws closer.
When the Chase is over in 10 weeks, doubtless there will be another frantic flurry of personnel movements, mostly around the crew chief position. For now, though, here are the five best moves already announced for 2014.
5. AJ ALLMENDINGER TO NO. 47 - Another move that began this year and will become full-time in 2014. After his suspension last year, Allmendinger's future in NASCAR seemed dicey, at best. But he's had a big year in 2013, winning two NASCAR Nationwide Series races driving for Roger Penske, and he's already helped JTG Daugherty Racing, posting top-15 finishes in his last three starts.
4. BRIAN VICKERS TO MWR - OK, this move actually has taken place already, once Mark Martin was released last month to go drive for the injured Tony Stewart at SHR. Vickers is the youngest champion in NASCAR Nationwide Series history, and he won a race already this season during his part-time stint with MWR. After missing most of 2010 due to blood clots, Vickers has worked very hard to re-establish himself in the sport. He should be a Chase contender next year.
3. RYAN NEWMAN TO RCR - After being cut loose by Gene Haas in favor of Kurt Busch, Newman will have a lot to prove when he moves to Richard Childress Racing next year to replace Jeff Burton. Newman has a solid track record over a Sprint Cup career that began full-time in 2002. He's a known commodity and should prove to be a good fit both on the track and with sponsors at RCR.
2. KYLE LARSON TO EGR - Chip Ganassi rolled the dice by dumping veteran Juan Pablo Montoya in favor of the 21-year-old Larson, who is ninth in points in his first season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. While Larson doubtless will tear up some equipment next year in the Sprint Cup Series, long-term, he has huge upside. And with Montoya's rumored high salary gone, the move also makes a lot of financial sense.
1. STEWART-HAAS RACING - No team helped itself more in Silly Season than Stewart-Haas Racing, signing both Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch for 2014. Not coincidentally, Harvick and Busch are the only two drivers in the top 10 in points right now who are changing teams next season. SHR also inked the talented Rodney Childers away from Michael Waltrip Racing to be Harvick's crew chief and is likely to retain another MWR alumnus, Mark Martin, to test and work with Danica Patrick.