Gibbs Not Expanding to Four Teams; Not Adding Newman, Either
Over the weekend, several sources reported that Joe Gibbs came right out and said that it was beginning to look very unlikely that his prominent organization, Joe Gibbs Racing, would expand to include a fourth team in the Cup Series next season. Gibbs told reporters that it was getting too late in the year to properly put together an expansion package that would make a fourth team competitive right off the bat, and I’m sure that losing Tony Stewart didn’t help their plans, either.
“You wouldn’t say never, but it doesn’t look right now that it will happen for us next year,” Gibbs told The Associated Press before the start of Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Once Gibbs made the statement, immediate conclusions were being drawn that this would also count Ryan Newman out of the running for a set with Gibbs as well, as all indications are that one of their three seats are without doubt reserved at some point in time for Joey Logano, and that no fourth team means no Ryan Newman.
ESPN.com was - as they have been all season long - a bit more deliberate in their reports, reporting that Gibbs himself went on record and discounted the notion of Newman moving to Gibbs.
It would be hard,” Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Another time, another day, maybe. He’s a great individual. You would love to have him on your team. It’s just all those ducks aren’t in a row.”
A representative from Richard Childress Racing also stated on Friday that he expects Newman to move to Stewart Haas Racing next season. Childress and Gibbs were both considered to be the only other major players in the bidding for Newman’s services, so if they both say that it’s not going to be them, then I guess we can go ahead and start picturing what Newman will look like behind the wheel of the no. 4 car next season.
With Newman out of the running for the no. 20 car, that really takes all the players off the board in my mind. Sure, I suppose something could happen with Martin Truex Jr. leaving DEI, but I don’t picture a move to Gibbs being in his future, either. And, yeah, Casey Mears is still out there, but I think Home Depot would be likely to throw a fit if they were told that they were going from Stewart to Mears (no offense, Casey). The only scenario I can see playing out that doesn’t involve Joey Logano driving the no. 20 full-time next season is if he drives it part-time with Gibbs hiring another “lesser” talent out there to run the balance of the races just to keep the car inside the top-35 …. but, let’s face it, that doesn’t seem likely, either.
Long story short - Newman to the no. 4 car, Logano to the no. 20 ….. they just haven’t announced it yet.