Rob Kauffman purchases interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
The two brief statements issued by Michael Waltrip Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates late Thursday morning raised more questions than they answered.
The crux of the two statements is that MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman will become a co-owner of the Ganassi outfit next year. Beyond that, right now everything else is speculation.
"The companies will continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season," MWR said in its statement. "They are also currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 season and beyond. More details will follow in due course."
The Ganassi outfit issued its own statement, saying, "We confirm that Rob Kauffman has agreed to acquire an interest in the team. Further discussions regarding the 2016 season and beyond are underway."
Sabates issued a statement to SIRIUSXM NASCAR Radio, confirming Ganassi will be a three-car team next year, and that he will be with the team.
"I'm not going anywhere," Sabates' statement read. "This is about making our team stronger, a three-car team is stronger than a two car. But the rumors that Rob is buying me out are not true. My last race will be five years from September 9th. I will be 75 years old then and will be done."
Late in the afternoon, MWR's Michael Waltrip issued a statement of his own, saying, "My focus is on 2015 and fulfilling the commitment we have made to our partners and Toyota which is placing our teams in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. There are a lot of details yet to be sorted regarding 2016. I will work closely with Rob Kauffman and our sponsors to formulate the best way forward."
But today's announcement was just the tip of the iceberg.
Among the myriad details left to come:
-- Will Kauffman take one of the MWR drivers -- Clint Bowyer, perhaps? -- and/or sponsors with him to Ganassi?
-- Will MWR switch from Toyota to Chevrolet?
-- With Kauffman on the way out, will MWR need another partner to keep going?
-- Who will MWR's driver(s) and sponsors be in 2016?
-- If MWR ceases to be a Toyota team, who will Toyota sign to replace them?
-- Will Kauffman still have a stake in MWR?
-- Neither one of these teams has won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since 2013. Will the alliance of Kauffman and Ganassi prove to be a winner?
-- What happens to David Ragan, who has spent most of the season driving the No. 55 for MWR?
A MWR team spokesman confirmed that Waltrip will be at Pocono Raceway this weekend, where he is expected to address the situation on this developing story.