A look at the key players in Silly Season '09

BY foxsports • May 6, 2009

Sure, we're only through 10 races this season, but it's never too early for NASCAR's Silly Season to begin.

The drivers' sweepstakes isn't nearly as pivotal with the sport's top five drivers (according to souvenir sales) — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch — locked down. However, the list of drivers shopping and being shopped around includes former race winners, past rookies of the year and even a Chase contender.

Here's a look at the biggest names in play so far:

Brad Keselowski

After winning his first Cup race in Talladega just two weeks ago, Keselowski announced he did not have a deal in place for 2010. Hendrick Motorsports reps said on Saturday that Keselowski has an exclusivity period available to sign the driver. But after Mark Martin agreed this week to remain driver of the No. 5 in 2010, it left no room on the roster for a full-time ride for Keselowski next season. Still, as of last weekend the Kellogg's account was not signed beyond this year. Kellogg's joined HMS in 1994 along with Terry Labonte.

Keselowski's current owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Richmond he would not hold him back if a Cup opportunity came along. Regarding the possibility of Keselowski driving a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart said Friday, "If we decided to expand, we'd look at everybody that's available. Obviously Brad is one of those guys, but right now we're still a two-car team and we've got two good drivers, I feel like. So right now we don't have an opening."

Keselowski says he was offered a ride at Penske Racing last year. Considering that neither David Stremme nor Sam Hornish Jr. is currently in the top 25, the company could come knocking again. But with Keselowski's success in Hendrick equipment with James Finch running the No. 09 Chevrolet in 2010 is not out of the question.

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex, who is currently 21st in the standings, re-signed for one more year with DEI in 2008 along with sponsor Bass Pro Shops. The 28-year-old is in his fourth Cup season and scored his sole Cup victory in 2007 at Dover.

downlevel descriptionThis video requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download a free version of the player.

His name has been mentioned as a possibility for the No. 55 Toyota at Michael Waltrip Racing, should the company's namesake step down. Truex's younger brother, Ryan, 17, is running for MWR in the Camping World East Series. The Truex Family's relationship with MWR GM Ty Norris dates back to DEI when he signed Martin to drive in the Busch Series in 2003.

Joe Gibbs Racing has also expressed interest in Truex.

Jamie McMurray

McMurray's contract concludes at the end of the 2009 season, but his relationship with sponsors Crown Royal and Irwin Tools is solid.

McMurray could just as easily move across the street to one of the Yates teams, but he said recently that the subject has not yet been broached. Given the assembly-line approach to the Roush Fenway/Yates program, he would expect the equipment to be equal.

Regan Smith

in this topic

share story