There was a great piece done recently by Scene Daily’s Bob Pockrass about the Nationwide Series’ newest owner, Steve Turner. (We’ve also written previously about Turner.) Towards the end of 2010, Turner became the largest independent owner when he expanded his Truck Series operation to include four NNS teams that he acquired when he purchased Braun Racing. The SD piece and Turner’s recent dealings have me wondering if Turner Motorsports could be on track to being the next major NASCAR team.
Think about what Turner now has in place with his organization. He’s got several solid sponsorship deals (Great Clips, Dollar General, Monster Energy, ABF Freight, Brandt, and others), a stable of young and talented drivers (James Buescher, Brad Sweet, Justin Allgaier, Jason Leffler, Ricky Carmichael, Reed Sorenson), and plenty of good equipment. With the base Turner has built (and bought), it’s not hard to see the team possibly making the jump to Cup competition in the near future.
Of the drivers he has now, two already have Cup experience (Leffler and Sorenson), and if Allgaier continues to improve, there is no doubt that he could be a solid driver to build a Cup program with. Obviously funding would need to be secured, but remember that the new NNS COT isn’t much different then a Cup COT. And with their new relationships with equipment suppliers, a Cup team wouldn’t be a big leap.
I also want to point out the difference between Turner and some of the other new owners we’ve seen come into NASCAR recently. Remember that Turner has been doing this for a while. He didn’t come in with big pockets and immediately buy into a Cup operation. He started small and has owned teams in many lower racing series before moving into the NASCAR big leagues. He has a better idea than most what it takes to survive. And it appears he has the acumen and the resources to make it all work.
At this point, I’m sure Turner and his management team are focused on making the teams they have now successful. It will certainly be a challenge meshing his CWTS operation with what was Braun’s NNS operation and making it work. But if they are able, I don’t think it’s crazy to think that Turner could be on pace to be the next Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, or Jack Roush.