The NASCAR “silly season” rumor mill sure has been active when it comes to Clint Bowyer since the seemingly gradual announcement of the shuttering of Michael Waltrip Racing at season’s end.
For those way, way behind on the skinny, Rob Kauffman is pulling up MWR stakes at the end of the year and becoming a minority owner over at Chip Ganassi Racing. As a result, Michael Waltrip Racing has announced that it won’t field a full-time entry in 2016, and it looks like MWR won’t even exist beyond 2015.
Original rumors had Bowyer heading over to CGR with Kauffman with the Ganassi organization expanding the three teams. After all, another CGR minority owner, Felix Sabates has said publicly that the team would field three cars next year. Announcements over the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway blew that rumor out of the water, though. Come to find out, CGR still will be a two-car team next year, and Bowyer won’t be there next year.
The current rumor du jour has Bowyer taking sponsor, 5-Hour Energy, over to HScott Motorsports for a season and then heading to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace a possibly retiring Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the No. 14 there. Possibly retiring? Has Stewart decided to retire at the end of 2016 and just not told us yet? Could Bowyer jusb be banking on that possibility?
Here’s another option not being explored, provided all parties would be interested. Well, most aren’t exploring it, but it’s something I speculated in my last blog post. What about a Furniture Row Racing expansion and Bowyer moving there to reunite with former MWR teammate, Martin Truex Jr.?
It’s looking more like Bowyer will retain his 5-Hour Energy sponsorship to take with him wherever he winds up. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser has expressed interest in expanding his operation from a single-car team to a two-car team, should proper sponsorship funding be found. Well, it looks like Bowyer could bring his own sponsor.
Visser has also hinted at a possible manufacturer change, disgruntled by his lack of assistance from Chevrolet. With MWR”s demise, Toyota’s got to be looking for new teams, and Furniture Row could be one the manufacture would be proud to add. Truex and FRR are, after all, Chase bound with a win this season.
Looks to me like this situation could be ideal for a Bowyer to FRR move and an FRR expansion.
Are the rumors of Bowyer to HScott en route to Stewart-Haas be so strong and so substantiated, meaning rumors of a Stewart retirement after 2016 so certain that this Furniture Row option is being overlooked?
If not, I think the Furniture Row option is a viable one to be explored. What do you think?
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EXTRA: Here are a couple of videos of Bowyer and Kauffman discussing the future and the demise of MWR