Marty Smith called into NASCAR Now today and gave updates to some of the biggest stories of this past weekend in Sonoma. Smith began by saying that several sources have confirmed to him (Hendrick Motorsports and Casey Mears not being one of them) that Casey Mears will not be returning to the number 5 car or Hendrick Motorsports next season.
According to Smith, several teams are looking at Mears but would not go into further details as to which teams those are. Adding to the Hendrick rumor mill Marty Smith said several sources (once again Hendrick Motorsports and Mark Martin were not confirmed as these sources) said that Mark Martin would in fact run full time next year in the number 5 car.
That would put Aric Almirola full time in the number 8 car, whose sponsorship is in the air but Smith said several sponsors have expressed interest in Almirola. In other sponsor news, RacewayReport.com is reporting that Alltel, Ryan Newman's current sponsor, will in fact return to that team in 2009.
Newman's sponsorship was in jeopardy as Verizon Wireless is currently making a bid to buy Alltel. However, it's unclear yet if Newman will still stay with Penske. Jayski.com is now reporting that Martin may be splitting the number 5 at Hendrick with Brad Keselowski or split a Red Bull Racing ride with Scott Speed.
I don't believe that will happen as Speed was on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain and said he was in no hurry to move up to Cup. Smell that? It's the sweet, sweet smell of Silly Season...
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