Following the first eight races of the season, some business decisions are coming into question with some of the newest teams on the Sprint Cup Series circuit.
Swan Racing expanded to a two-car team at the beginning of the 2014 season, putting a pair of rookies in their cars – Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman. After being unable to find sponsorship and some poor finishes to start the year, plans haven’t panned as good as they had hoped for.
Swan Racing released the following statement late last week addressing the concerns surrounding their team.
“Swan Racing is in the process of reviewing its current situation and the ability to continue to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team. As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future.”
Co-team owner Anthony Marlowe sent out a tweet stating, “My mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season.”
Heading into this week’s race at Richmond International Raceway, neither driver is on the entry list for the race and Sporting News has reported that Whitt is seeking other options in hopes to find a ride for the weekend and beyond.
The news marks an unfortunate turn for two of NASCAR’s future stars whom both are not new to experiencing this type of situation. Whitt was part of the development program at JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series when he was let go due to lack of sponsorship. Kligerman ran the Nationwide Series last year for Kyle Busch Motorsports and showed lots of promise, but Busch was forced to close his Nationwide operation due to lack of funds.
To make it in racing, it takes a lot of sponsorship dollars and many drivers are left to the way side trying to find the dollars. Both Whitt and Kligerman look to be the latest victims of this brutal reality in racing.
In the same breath, heavy criticism should certainly be placed on the heads at Swan Racing for their business decisions. Trying to run a single-car operation without a sponsor is hard enough as shown by owners in the past. To double the expenses with a second car is something fans and media predicted pre-season would result in trouble. Well done predictors, well done.
The deal was bound for failure from the start in the eyes of many. Rookies are drivers that are out to learn lessons and try to make it in the sport. In trying to establish a team, having inexperienced drivers brings lots of trying moments. These struggles do nothing in trying to attract sponsors as sponsors want to pay for their car to be seen by many near the front of the pack.
So what happens now?
It was discussed that Whitt would become a third driver at BK Racing. BK Racing is under the same situation as Swan, though, as they’re a small two-car team with a pair of rookies who haven’t had the best start to the year. Alex Bowman hasn’t produced promising results yet, while Ryan Truex has struggled to simply qualify for races. The only thing saving this team from the same issue is the support from Dr. Pepper on Bowman’s car. Do you honestly need to add a third driver to complicate things?
While it may not be the best option, perhaps both drivers should seek trying to put a marketing partner with an owner in a lower-tier division, like Nationwide or trucks, and try to establish themselves as a contender before seeking to make a jump that quite frankly neither driver was ready for.