It is being reported that Red Bull Racing may leave NASCAR at the end of the season. According to reports, Tom Ueberall, of RBR, traveled to Michigan International Speedway last weekend to inform industry leaders of the decision.
There are two scenarios as to what could happen to the team and its equipment. RBR general manager Jay Frye could bring in outside investors to help keep the team going, most likely under a new name, similar to what Richard Petty did with Richard Petty Motorsports last season. Or, Frye could team up with Mark Martin to form a new team using chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports. An RBR switch to Chevys has been rumored for the last two years. An alliance with HMS would mean that switch would finally occur.
Martin was linked to RBR last year, when there was speculation that he would leave HMS a year early to allow Kasey Kahne to drive the No. 5. Last season, Kahne signed a contract to drive the No. 5 in 2012.
There is also a rumor circulating that Ray Evernham could return to NASCAR ownership by taking over the team, keeping Red Bull as a sponsor. That scenario, however, seems unlikely because Evernham has said that he has no desire to return to ownership. He also denied knowledge of any Red Bull deal.
FoxSports.com reported that RBR was in the works to put Clint Bowyer in the No. 4 Toyota when the seat opens next season.
RBR issued a statement:
Red Bull Racing Team is currently seeking outside investors as we evaluate next steps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We are not at liberty to comment on details while negotiations are under way. Red Bull fully supports NASCAR for the remainder of the 2011 season as we fight for victories and a position in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Of the scenarios out there, the one that seems to be the most logical is a deal between Mark Martin and Frye, with Martin become an owner. As Martin ages, he has to be thinking about his future. He knows that no matter how fit he is, at some point he will no longer be able to drive in the Cup series.
So, I think he’ll start thinking — like many drivers late in their careers — about starting his own Sprint Cup team. I envision him in a role similar to Tony Stewart at Stewart Haas Racing. This, of course, is all speculation.