I don't think Smoke is making a mistake. I think he saw the writing on the wall with Joey Legano coming up. And he had the chance to go back to Chevrolet. Gibbs has made youth movements before. I.E. Letting a cup champion in Bobby Labonte walk with out making much of an effort to keep him. And with Busch, Hamlin and Legano, Gibbs has an exciting group of young drivers that will keep sponsors happy.
But look at what Smoke is up to.
So far he has lined up two major sponsors, and has deals in the works for at least two more.
He’s signed a veteran driver in Ryan Newman(and please remember that Newmans degree is in Engineering). Beating out the big guns of Gibbs, Childress and Petty. (And let us not forget that the Rocketmans old crew chief already works at SHR)
To make the relationship with Hendrick Motor Sports even stronger he’s offered a contract to Darrien Grubb to be his crew chief. You may remember him from his 6 race stint with NASCAR champ Jimmy Johnson last year when Chad Knaus was susspended. (oh yeah in case you forgot they won a couple races with him on top of the box)
- They are getting some of the top people in the series applying for jobs. Good sponsor packages equal steady jobs. (And they all like Smoke)
- They have a great assosiate sponsor, you may have heard of them. HENDRICK MOTOR SPORTS!!!
- Even though Smoke has already said he won’t be expanding to three teams in ’09. Watch out for ’10. He has a very clode relationship with three Very Big Names.
- a. Martin Truex Jr(Contract extension through ’09)
- b. Already doing commercials for Bass Pro Shops(With DEI through’09)
- c. Kevin “Bono” Manion has crew for his late model team(signed through ’09)
- So to all of you that doubt Smoke. I say watch out. Because come February. You will see the 14 car working his way up front at Daytona.
- And don’t be to surprised if he’s teaming up with the 88 car.