By admin | January 18, 2010
By Richard Allen
Stewart-Haas Racing was among the first to talk it up with the NASCAR media contingent in this yearâ€™s version of the Sprint Media tour hosted by the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While these spit and polished photo and interview sessions usually come off as a very scripted opportunity to promote each teamâ€™s sponsors for the current year and talk of how excited everyone is for the upcoming season, SHR gave a glimpse toward 2011 as well.
With six cars on display in one of the convention rooms of the host hotel, a decal on the rear quarter panels of each car gave what might have been an indication of things to come for this team. Each of the #14 and #39 Chevrolets carried a small Bass Pro Shops logo.
The relationship between that company and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart in other forms of racing is well known. What else is well known is that Bass Proâ€™s contract with Earnhardt-Ganassi to sponsor the #1 car in the Sprint Cup Series ends after this 2010 season. It would be a surprise to no one if the outdoor equipment supplier were to sponsor an SHR car next season.
To further add to the speculation of a third team that is sure to come was the announcement that SHR would provide the pit crew for the TRG Motorsports team of driver Bobby Labonte. What better way for a new group of crew members to work out the kinks than some on the job training?
In 2010, Stewart-Haas Racing will field cars for Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Do not be surprised if that team is providing cars for a third driver in 2011. With some big name candidates possibly coming available at the end of this season, just who that driver might be will no doubt make for some interesting speculation over the course of this season.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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