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It was sad news last week that Morgan-McClure Motorsports was closing up shop and leaving NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. It has been a long time now since the MMM #4, in bright yellow Kodak livery, was one of the iconic car-number-sponsor combinations at the Daytona 500.
Fox Sports and Speed TV's Jeff Hammond was a guest ON PIT ROW last week and we asked him if any of the other longtime teams were in imminent danger of giving up the ghost. The question had been one of our Fast Lap debate questions early in the show. Both Steve and I had speculated that BAM Racing might be the team most in trouble.
Surprisingly - maybe shockingly - Hammond brought up Yates Racing. He said that you have to look at the fact that one month short of the Daytona 500, neither of Doug Yates' Ford Fusions has a primary sponsor.
Now, the Yates teams aren't the only NASCAR teams looking for money. But they should be an easier sell than most. Yates Racing, under the Robert Yates Racing banner has a history of success. So did Morgan McClure. Doug Yates is bringing back one of the great, historic - iconic - car numbers in the history of NASCAR by putting the #28 on Travis Kvapil's car. But the #4 didn't seem to help McClure.
The thing that should worry the suits in Daytona and Charlotte though is the fact that both Yates Fords are solidly in NASCAR's top thirty five in owners's points and are guaranteed starts in the first six races of 2008. If a team with those assurances can't find backing, what will happen when those teams and sponsors without the owner's points sky-hook, start missing races?
Picture credit: Rusty Jarrett - Getty Images for NASCAR