In most sports, the free agency period is known as, well, free agency.
In NASCAR, however, it's known as "Silly Season"—the annual summer of rumors and speculation that rattle the racing world and give Jayski his credibility.
The dominoes for 2012 already started to fall last year, when Kasey Kahne announced that he had signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 5 after Mark Martin gives up the seat this season.
Kahne went to Red Bull Racing, which will see its namesake leave the sport at the end of 2011.
As of now, the future of a Sprint Cup title contender still hangs in the balance, while other big-name drivers could be looking for work come November.
Here's some speculation as to who will be driving for whom in 2012.
The possible free agents in this slideshow are from Jayski.com's 2011 Sprint Cup Team Chart, which can be found here.
Carl Edwards finds himself in a particularly curious spot this summer, even though it seems likely that he'll sign a long-term deal with Roush Fenway Racing to possibly drive the No. 99 Ford for the rest of his career.
If Edwards decided to play hardball in negotiations, it's not like "The Cat in the Hat" would be hurting for him to stay. He's got a couple of solid up-and-comers in the Nationwide ranks, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne being very impressive this season.
At the end of the day, the current big catch on the free agent market stays with Roush.
If you read on, you'll figure out why I grouped Martin and Danica together.
The dominoes could very well fall in "Silly Season" once again after we find out Mark Martin's future. The 52-year-old plans on racing for years to come after he vacates the No. 5 Chevy at Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season for Kasey Kahne's arrival.
Martin is certainly still competing at a very high level, but his advanced age may make him a bit of a gamble for a team to take as a long-term option. He's done very well as a mentor for young drivers, however, having worked with Regan Smith and Aric Almirola during his Ginn Racing/DEI stint; most recently, Danica Patrick has learned from him while collecting Nationwide Series experience.
Here's a very bold prediction: Robin Miller reported on SPEED last month that Andretti Autosport is looking to form a NASCAR operation. For those who don't know, Andretti Autosport owns Danica Patrick's ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Miller believes that Danica and Andretti will not jump to stock car racing together, but it just seems like too much of a coincidence that both parties are interested in heading to NASCAR at the same time.
With GoDaddy.com money in tow, Andretti could sign Mark Martin to drive for a one-car operation in 2012. If Danica shows enough improvement in a full Nationwide slate next season, Patrick and Martin could be a two-car team in 2013.
Short and sweet prediction here, as a Yahoo! Sports report last month noted that Juan Pablo Montoya was close to signing an extension to drive the No. 42 Chevy for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Clint Bowyer's decision may have already been made for him, as reports around the Internet and garage area had him replacing Kasey Kahne in the No. 4 Toyota at Red Bull Racing.
Of course, Red Bull Racing is leaving the sport at the end of the season, so Bowyer wants to negotiate with Richard Childress Racing to keep driving the No. 33 Chevrolet.
It's been speculated pretty much everywhere that Joe Gibbs Racing wants Carl Edwards to replace Logano in the No. 20 Toyota next season, meaning the youngster's future could be in doubt with the organization.
I don't think Edwards is heading to Gibbs, so Logano will likely keep his ride for now, keeping in mind his recent successes with the Infineon pole run and the third-place finish at Daytona. (He'll have to start living up to his potential next season if he wants to get off the hot seat, however.)
According to Jayski's 2011 and 2012 Team Charts, Ryan Newman is in a contract year.
A Google News search will find very little buzz about where he will go next season, however, so it's safe to assume that he stays in the No. 39 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Brian Vickers may be the one man on this list whose Sprint Cup career could be in the greatest amount of peril.
One-half of the combination that was to have vaulted Red Bull Racing as the top Toyota team and a contender to the Hendricks and Roushs of the world, Vickers's path has been filled with struggles—the biggest of which, obviously, being the blood clots that ended his 2010 season in May.
Now, Red Bull Racing is leaving the sport, with Vickers left in the dust in the process.
Vickers has the talent to be an upper-level driver in NASCAR, but there may not be an upper-level ride open for him next season if an investor doesn't purchase what could be left of Red Bull.
Thoughts? Comment below.