Hendrick Motorsports has a vacancy in their impressive driver roster for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Casey Mears will be moving on and leaving in his wake lots of speculation about who will fill his seat.
While there is a long list of names (Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr.) being considered for the car, my question is, where will Mears go?
Speculation is that Reed Sorenson's place at Ganassi may be in jeopardy, but I wouldn't expect Casey Mears to wind up at an organization that has previously released him.
I also couldn't see Mears stepping into Ryan Newman's firesuit at Penske Racing South. Naturally, if Tony Stewart is going to purchase Haas and vacate his famous No. 20 at JGR, the young driver nicknamed "Sliced Bread," Joey Logano, will be taking his place.
That could potentially land Mears at DEI to fill Truex Jr.'s vacated seat. Of course, RCR will be looking to put a driver in the fourth car the team will be fielding next season.
My guess is that Mears may find himself with a Toyota team next season, though I'm not sure which one. I've heard no news on JGR running a fourth operation or Red Bull expanding their team to a three-car outfit.
Switching to Toyota made a big difference for the career of fellow former Hendrick drivers Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. Perhaps that same lightning could strike a third time and reignite Mears' career.
My other predictions for next season?
Tony Stewart will buy out Haas. Truex Jr. will move to either Hendrick Motorsports or RCR. Joey Logano will take over the vacated JGR No. 20. Ryan Newman will either remain where he is, or may also go the driver/owner route (he's always struck me as a loner).
I know that won't fill all the vacant seats next season, but with DEI struggling to find sponsorship they may scale down in size for next season, eliminating the need for a driver to fill Truex Jr.'s spot.
Of course, I could be wrong about all of this.
But that's the fun of Silly Season right?