Breaking up is hard to do – at times. Sometimes it’s the inevitable; other times, it’s just what needs to happen.
So what are the top “break-up” stories going around NASCAR these past few weeks? Well, I dug around and came up with the top three:
RED BULL RACING
Red Bull Racing filed a WARN notice this week as part of North Carolina’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that layoffs were impending and expected by Dec. 17, 2011.
The notification with the state does not mean the team will or will not be sold but covers Red Bull if it does not sell the team and shuts down or sells the team to a buyer that lays off workers.
North Carolina law requires the 60-day notice to the state and employees if at least 50 employees will be laid off. Red Bull Racing expects to layoff 152 employees. If an employer does not notify the state and its employees of layoffs, it could be responsible for 60 days of wages plus a $500 fine for each violation.
As many of you may recall, Red Bull announced back in late June that it was selling the team – but that was almost four months ago, with no announcement of a buyer, as of yet. One person of interest has stepped forward, former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve – who has kept no secret about his interest in Cup racing – but indications are that there have been no productive discussions.
MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING/JTG DAUGHERTY RACING
In the meantime, is Michael Waltrip Racing ending its alliance with JTG Daugherty Racing? MWR currently fields two teams: No. 56/ Martin Truex Jr. and No. 00/ David Reutimann, and supplies cars for No. 47/Bobby Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing out of its Mooresville, N.C., shop.
News from the Charlotte Observer stated that Michael Waltrip Racing is preparing to add a driver, but not a team. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said Friday he hopes to have a deal completed with driver Clint Bowyer and a sponsor within 7 to 10 days. MWR also reported that the move would not necessitate the addition of new personnel or expansion. However, MWR has named Scott Miller as Executive Vice President of Competition effective at the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Miller had just separated ways from RCR as Director of Competition at Richard Childress Racing after 7 years.
When asked whether Miller’s departure and destination were linked to his own, Bowyer grinned and said, “I wish him the best and, who knows, maybe I will be working with him someday.”
MWR has been providing resources for the JTG Daugherty team – in essence a third team – but that relationship will end at year’s end. Team owner Brad Daugherty plans to keep his organization on track next season, but is currently looking at options to align with another team.
So, on that note, as speculation is floating… that <signs were> Brad Daughterty has always had great admiration for Richard Petty and always wore the #43 jersey during his college and NBA career. Is JTG Daughtery leaning to form an alliance with Richard Petty Motorsports?
“I haven’t talked with Richard Petty Motorsports,” team owner Tad Geschickter said. “There’s no truth to that at all.”
LITERALLY: STENHOUSE VS BAYNE
According to Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Led Wood and Sirius Speedway, a decision will be made in the next few weeks about whether Trevor Bayne will return to the legendary #21 Sprint Cup Series Ford next season, or be replaced by current Nationwide Series point leader Ricky Stenhouse.
If it were up to Wood, he would keep Bayne in the driver’s seat. However, as he puts it, “a decision on who will steer the #21 Ford next season will be made by Ford Motor Company and Roush Fenway Racing,” which whom the Woods have a longstanding technical alliance.
A decision will be made in the next few weeks.
UPDATE: Kevin Harvick, Inc. submits a WARN filing with the State of N.C.
Kevin Harvick Inc., which announced this month that it would merge its Nationwide Series operation into Richard Childress Racing and that the majority of its Camping World Truck Series operation had been sold to Eddie Sharp Racing, notified the state of North Carolina that it planned 103 layoffs under the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.