Three new organizations made huge financial commitments to the NASCAR Nextel Cup series this year. None of the three found the success they sought.
Ginn Racing has been news for the past week with the firing of established drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek. The Ginn group may change even more. Merger and buyout rumors persist. Dale Earnhardt Inc. is the most mentioned partner.
Michael Waltrip named two time Winston Cup champ Terry Labonte as his replacement in the #55 NAPA Camry for the Indy race, stoking talk of making a permanent driver change. Meanwhile, the other two Camrys in the MWR stable continue to struggle. There is now talk that Burger King and Domino's may bail on the #00.
Red Bull Racing is no stranger to throwing mega bucks at racing series. The one Toyota team that appeared to take a long term view of it's driver line up, struggles to make races.
Last Tuesday ON PIT ROW, I asked veteran NASCAR crew chief Booty Barker what main advantage super teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing have over satellite or independent outfits. I suggested the obvious - money - and he disagreed.
To Barker, the advantage is their longevity.
Hendrick Motorsports has been around since 1984. Rick Hendrick has plenty of cash, sure. But over 30 plus years, he has built a collection of good, talented people. Then, once in a generation, a Jeff Gordon falls to you. Or a Mark Martin, in Roush's case.
It was a great interview. In it's light, the struggles of the new wanna-be teams is understandable. Great success would have been an accident.
Red Bull Racing essentially funds itself. Waltrip and Ginn did a masterful selling job to assemble the sponsorship that kicked off six full-season Cup teams. Unfortunately they may have oversold expectations. There is no long history of success to fall back upon.