In professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey they call trade deals; but in NASCAR it’s known as Silly Season. The 2017 edition of NASCAR Silly Season got it’s unofficial start in April when two time Daytona 500 winner and 14 time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his intention to retire from full time driving at the end of the season.
Since then Matt Kenseth has lost his ride, Erik Jones got a new boss, and Dale Jr has been replaced. Oh, and Kasey Kahne isn’t sure what’s going on after the end of the season.
On July 26 two more drivers have made a move and will be behind the wheel of a new car next season.
Currently Ryan Blaney drives the number 21 car for the Wood Brothers. Next season Blaney will join Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano at Penske Racing as the team adds a third car to the organization. Blaney wll be driving the number 12 car. His crew chief Jeremy Bullins is also making the move to continue on with Blaney.
By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901129
Speaking on the team change Blaney said, “this is a huge opportunity for me and my career. I’ve had some great moments with both Team Penske and the Wood Brothers over the last few years. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without Roger (Penske), Eddie and Len (Wood) and the opportunities their organizations have given me. I’m excited about the future.
Penske has just completed a contract extension with Brad Kesekowski and had completed one with Joey Logano earlier in the year.
While that left the Wood Brothers team without a driver, the car didn’t stay empty very long. In the same press conference, Wood Brothers team co-owner Eddie Wood announced that Paul Menard would be leaving Richard Childress Racing and the number 27 car to take over the driving duties in the Wood Brothers number 21 car. Menard will also bring the family owned business as the car’s sponsor.
By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901128
The move to a new team will also be a manufacturer change for Menard who drove Chevrolets for Childress but will run a Ford with the Wood Brothers.
Speaking on his change to a new team Menard said, “to get the chance to drive the iconic number 21 for the Wood Brothers is the coolest thing I’ve ever got a chance to do,” Menard. I’m looking forward to working with the team, working with Roush Yates, Ford Performance and Team Penske to see what we can do. Ryan (Blaney) has done a fantastic job and is a constant threat to run up front. Hopefully, we can do the same thing and keep the momentum going into 2018 and beyond.”
In a statement, Ricard Childress Racing said that the would be making an announcement about a new driver for the 27 car.
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