Red Bull begins to shift their focus on retaining Brian Vickers. Meanwhile, they take a brief glimpse at SHR’s Ryan Newman and EGR’s Juan Montoya. Newman would rather go fishing and play with his dogs than jump out of airplanes after down cans of Red Bull, so the two quickly close the book on that possible pairing. Newman stays with SHR, with U.S. Army, as they seem committed to NASCAR despite the fact that a Minnesota Congresswoman wants military sponsors out of racing.
Montoya is appealing to the Red Bull brand, and would give them an International flavor for a spokesperson, but his loyalty to Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates prevails.
Red Bull begins to see the options disappearing; therefore, they now realize that they should have kept Scott Speed in the program, at least part-time, or in Nationwide or Trucks. That bridge is now mere ashes. They explore another open wheel driver, Mrs. Danica Patrick. Patrick wisely turns down Red Bull, as she still has not decided between IRL and NASCAR. She wants to keep her options open, and re-signs with JR Motorsports for another part-time Nationwide schedule.
Red Bull develops interest in former rookie of the year winner Regan Smith, who is overachieving with Furniture Row, but he is under contract through 2012. The No. 78 officials are not willing to allow Smith out of his contract.
Thus, they begin to scour the Nationwide garage for their next big star. Justin Allgaier, Aric Almirola, and Brian Scott immediately stand out. Ultimately, they find that Almirola adequately fits the bill. He is young, talented, polished, and could embrace the Red Bull lifestyle. Furthermore, he possessed the most Sprint Cup experience of the group.
With A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose under contract, RPM looks to expand to three cars. Richard Petty was able to save his name in the sport, and will likely pull in another sponsor to pair with young hotshot Allgaier, who will be the first legitimate rookie of the year contender since Joey Logano in 2009.
EGR is another team that could expand in 2012. They could form an alliance with a single-car team such as Furniture Row and move them into their shop. This would be a similar arrangement as Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing. This would put Smith with Montoya and Jamie McMurray.
Rusty Wallace will provide a Sprint Cup team for Steve Wallace, but keep Michael Annett in the Nationwide Series. RWI will be a solo car effort, but could form a technical alliance with one of the Toyota teams such as Michael Waltrip Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing.
Thus far, here is silly season could turn out in 2012:
16-Greg Biffle, Roush Racing, 3M Ford
6-Mark Martin, Roush Racing Ford
99-Trevor Bayne, Roush Racing, UPS Ford
12-Carl Edwards, Penske Racing, Aflac Dodge
21-David Ragan, Wood Brothers Ford
33-Clint Bowyer, RCR, Cheerios Chevrolet
31-Jeff Burton, RCR, Caterpillar Chevrolet
42-Juan Montoya, EGR, Target Chevrolet
83-Brian Vickers, Red Bull Toyota
4-Aric Almirola, Red Bull Toyota
39-Ryan Newman, SHR Chevrolet
44 or 19-Justin Allgaier, RPM Ford
77-Steve Wallace, RWI, 5-Hour Energy Toyota
78-Regan Smith, Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet in alliance with EGR
7-Danica Patrick, JR Motorsports Chevrolet (Nationwide Series)