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Speed Mail: Merger madness = Marketing + motors

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Certainly, George Gillett brings funding — which is important — to Evernham Motorsports. But, now the Gillett group can focus on the business and marketing side of promoting the race team while Ray Evernham gets his eye back on performance. The demands on an owner with three Cup teams plus a Busch team and everything else are almost so great that he can't think about his race cars. That's what Ray was missing. He missed wrapping his arms around the competition side of that race team. For the first three or four years, that's the way he ran his organization. The more it grew, the more he was forced to get away from that plan. I will be quite surprised if this partnership does not make a difference. It may not happen overnight. We may not even see a change in the final 15 races of this season, but in the long haul, it will be a positive change.

Marketing and motors

Doug from Lexington, N.C.: As good as the Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing merger may be for RYR, do you think it is for engineering help only, or do you see it allowing Yates to finally add more teams? Also, how do you think it will affect the Roush/Yates engine program?

Larry McReynolds: I don't think the Roush/Yates engine program will even realize the difference. If more teams are added, it will mean more engines, but that's not an issue right now. The merger took place for several reasons. Sure, it means more technical support because of the open-wheel ties. But NASCAR is becoming so complex, especially for true racers that are owners like Ray Evernham, Robert Yates and Jack Roush. These guys want to focus their efforts on where they feel they can contribute the most, making race cars go fast and making horsepower for their engines. As an employee at Robert Yates Racing from 1991-1996, I know that he didn't enjoy the business side. Robert wanted to roll up his sleeves, figure out how to make more power and help the crew chief get the race cars to go around the corner faster. That's Robert's forte. Richard Childress has a big sponsorship summit in Charlotte around the Coca-Cola 600. Counting primary, associate and product sponsors, he has over 45 sponsors. It takes a huge group to look after those sponsors and make sure they're getting the bang for their buck. It's just becoming so complicated and so much money is being spent that you almost need a group to look after the racing side, a group to look after the marketing side and a group to look after the business side. It's one reason that Roush teamed with John Henry and the Fenway Group. It's one reason Ray Evernham teamed with George Gillett. And it's one reason that Yates is working with Newman, Haas and Lanigan. There are more resources across these organizations. Obviously, there's a financial side, too. There's no question Newman, Haas and Lanigan brought more financial support to the program. We know for a fact Gillett will bring more financial support to Evernham Motorsports.

Disappearing No. 13

Mike from Hooks, Texas: Everything I read says Dale Earnhardt Inc. have taken over the No. 01 and No. 14 cars. The 14 car's points go to the No. 15, and the No. 13 car has been eliminated. Is everyone saying the No. 13 car's points just disappear? Larry McReynolds: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby explained that an owner cannot sell points or numbers. That's the convoluted part of this deal. When these DEI and Ginn Racing merged, there were three DEI teams and three Ginn teams. As they became one, they had to go down to four teams. DEI kept its three teams so two Ginn teams had to go away. In NASCAR's eyes, the No. 14 team is still there. It's Paul Menard's No. 15 paint scheme. It's sad because the No. 13 car was locked into the show each week. But it had to be shut down because Bobby Ginn would have been listed as the owner of five teams so he could not merge with anyone else like No. 78 owner Barney Visser. NASCAR doesn't allow owners to merge three teams over here and two teams over here and one team over here. Whether it's by yourself or whether it's in a partnership, you can only be a part of four teams.

Speed Mail Larry McReynolds

The No. 13 closing its doors is no different than when a team just closes its doors and no longer exists. At the start of the year, Cal Wells closed the No. 32 team's doors and merged with Michael Waltrip Racing, even though the car wasn't in the top 35. A lot of pepole wondered why Waltrip did it. What was the value in a team outside the top 35 at the beginning of the year? If you look at the owner points today, it lists Cal Wells as the owner of David Reutimann's No. 00 car. If there had been a rainout in the first five races, that car would have been in the show based on 2006 attempts. Plus, the car also was further forward in garage parking stalls, which enabled them to go through inspection earlier.

Why would Busch go to COT?

Tony from Chesapeake, Va.: I haven't heard anyone talking about what car body the Busch Series (or whatever it's called next) Car of Tomorrow will be running next year. If it's not the COT, will fewer Nextel drivers run the Busch series? Larry McReynolds: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said there's no timetable for the COT in the Busch Series, and I don't see it happening soon. Does that mean 2010 or 2011? Who knows? If they went to the COT in the Busch Series, they might as well just hang up the Busch Series because they will completely run Busch-only owners like Todd Braun, Clarence Brewer and James Finch right out of the sport. What would the Busch Series gain? It would almost defeat part of the reasoning behind the Cup Car of Tomorrow. It wasn't like NASCAR sat in Daytona Beach and said, "Let's build a Car of Tomorrow so we can differentiate it from the Busch Series." As the car became a reality, it ended up being one of the things that existed along with safety and everything else, which are the real reasons for the Car of Tomorrow. I'm already starting to read articles about drivers looking at doing double duty next year, running the full Busch and Cup schedules. It might end up being about the same number that we have this year.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: David Reutimann, Michael Waltrip, Paul Menard

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