I don't ever remember a year in NASCAR where there are so many driver switches slated, and many have already taken place. The (tentative) rundown for '06:
-Possible run by Tim Brown group if sponsorship comes together -Rookie Clint Bowyer in for Dave Blaney in the #07 RCR Jack Daniels car -Jeff Green, from the #43 to the #0 Best Buy, in for Mike Bliss, who will run trucks next year -Kurt Busch to the #2 Penske, from the #97, in for the retiring Rusty Wallace -Martin Truex in the DEI #1 Full-Time -Mark Martin stays in the #6 for an extra year; Viagra leaves, AAA arrives as sponsor, with Todd Kleuver to take over in '07 -Scott Riggs stays in the #10, but gets the #91 owner points for this year, moves to Evernham Motorsports -Denny Hamlin will run the #11 full-time -Sterling Marlin to MB2's #14, which will get #10's owner points; no sponsor named yet -Paul Menard in the DEI #15 part-time, in for Michael Waltrip -J.J Yeley supposedly in for Bobby Labonte in the Gibbs #18 -Ricky Rudd is out of the #21 Wood Brothers; Ken Schrader rumored to take over -#22 looking for a driver after announcing Scott Wimmer would not return to BDR -Michael Waltrip in the #55 BDR, brings NAPA with him -#37 looking for a driver -David Stremme takes over for Marlin in the #40 Ganassi car, with Coors Light and Lonestar Steakhouse sharing sponsorship -Reed Sorensen takes over for Casey Mears in the Ganassi #41 -Mears stays in the system, taking over for Jamie McMurray in the #42 -Petty #43 looking for a driver, could be Bobby Labonte -Brent Sherman takes over for Schrader in the #49 BAM Racing car -Victory Motorsports could run in '06 in an alliance with Morgan-McClure -#96 Hall-Of-Fame Racing debuts with Terry Labonte in for the first five races, and Tony Raines the rest of the way; Texas Instruments is primary sponsor -McMurray takes over for Busch in the #97
I'm pretty stoked to see how the Busch/McMurray swap plays out, and hopefully Mark Martin will get a proper sendoff a la Rusty. HOWEVER, there are two races left in a great title chase, which will be made VERY interesting if Tony, JJ, and Carl have issues in Phoenix this weekend. I'd keep someone on watch to make sure nothing funny goes on while the cars are impounded after qualifying, just in case.
Tony Stewart has been incredible and I really hope he wraps this championship up without incident, though.
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