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Unemployment on the rise among Sprint Cup drivers and crew members

By admin | November 2, 2011

By Richard Allen

With a wave of recent announcements from various teams, it appears as though there will be a significant rise in the unemployment rate of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. These announcements are coming not only from smaller and less successful teams but also from the behemoth mega-teams who have proven race winning records.

Since the economy is not showing the signs of recovery that many corporations would like, they are scaling back on what might be considered frivolous spending. And with the rates demanded by Sprint Cup teams, sponsorship is one of those expenses easily written off.

In just the most recent days, Roush Fenway Racing has stated their intention to scale back from four cars to three in 2012. Package deliverer UPS, sponsor of RFR’s #6 Ford, will become an associate backer of Carl Edwards’ #99 rather than a primary sponsor.

As of now, RFR only has signed sponsorship for Edwards and the #16 car of Greg Biffle. The organization plans to field cars for 2003 Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth whether full sponsorship is found or not. However, running two cars without adequate sponsorship would be impossible. So, the #6 car will scaled back and driver David Ragan, who won earlier this year in Daytona, will be out of fulltime employment.

Another power team facing a similar situation as Roush Fenway Racing is that of Richard Childress Racing. Clint Bowyer, who just two weeks ago won in Talladega, had to be let go due to lack of sponsorship commitments for his #33 Chevrolet.

RCR also plans to cut from four teams to three on a fulltime basis by next season.

Bowyer recently signed with Michael Waltrip Racing with Five Hour Energy as a backer. With the announcement of their new driver’s arrival it appeared as though MWR was one organization that might experience expansion rather than contraction going into the coming campaign. However, word has just surfaced that such may not be the case after all.

Rumor has it that Mark Martin will move into MWR’s #00 car on a part-time basis in 2012. That moves a former fulltime car into the ranks of part-time. And, it moves driver David Reutimann into the ranks of unemployed. Apparently, this move was also sponsor driven as Aaron’s looks to cut costs by scaling back its NASCAR involvement.

Add to all of the above mentioned changes that earlier in the year Team Red Bull announced its pending departure from the sport at the end of this season. While it was already known that driver Kasey Kahne was only to be with that team temporarily, Brian Vickers was left looking for a place to go. And more, potential open seats for all of these abandoned drivers already mentioned have been eliminated.

The unfortunate result of all these moves is that a number of drivers, race winning drivers like Reutimann, Vickers and Ragan, will be looking for work and will have a very difficult time finding it.

And what’s more, for every driver out of work, there are scores more crew members looking for jobs who do not have the cash reserves of unemployed drivers to fall back on.

Elliott Sadler may have unknowingly begun a new trend when he moved from the Sprint Cup ranks to the Nationwide Series on a fulltime basis last year. There may very well be a number of others looking, or even hoping, to do the same thing very soon.

Topics: Articles |

7 Responses to “Unemployment on the rise among Sprint Cup drivers and crew members”

  1. Brian Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Reutimann, Vickers and Ragan. Go figure how many millions these sponsors have spent on these 3 drivers, and look at the total number of wins. Sponsors want winners, and these 3 guys just didn’t fill the bill!

  2. Jesse Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Locked in drivers is killing the sport, drivers that will never ever win a race are in no matter what. Former champions is another joke, the cars should line up by speed period . Lets have only 36 cars start and we will have real races.

  3. Chris Fiegler Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I think that tthere only be 43 Fastest Qualifyers who ever is very slow in Qualifying even if they are in the hunt for a Championship they go home.

  4. Taz Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Dam i thought Miachael Waltrip was tight with David even off the track to kick him to the curb like that.Guess real friends to mean s##t anymore.

  5. Russ Edwards Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I think that what wee see happening is a combination of several things. In no certain order

    1.The top 35 rule which eliminates new teams or major sponsors (for the most part)

    2. The ridiculous expense of sponsoring a car. $20 million for a season? Get real.

    3. The expanding power of the internet and social media. Where for a modest expense you can reach people worldwide.

    There’s others but if people think that things will change when the economy turns around just ask yourself. If I improved my business without spending 20 mill on Nascar, why should I do it now just because I have it.

  6. Jim Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Glad to see a few poster complaining about the basics again, you know, the top 35. If i might again add the spec series format, the shoot out in Feb which should go back to pole winners only, and of course the Chase, which should go the way of the doe doe bird, that includes whats his face Brian. Hope he likes what he has created, because he will be the only one watching if things don’t change. Not the first time I have seen a turn key thriving business run into the ground by someone(family member) who got the job because they have the same last name and really have no business being in charge!

  7. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 3rd, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Rich, I am not going to be no Toyotaman after Miami and it serves me right my 2nd Manufacturer Toyota treated me like cattle this year after Red Bull decided to lurch Cole Whitt and 00 is NOT Reutimann! I wish that someone should say “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake and sadly, Jack Sprague only now’s come back to racing after a 2 and a Half Year Hiatus.