We entered this season with a lot of great drivers at the end of their contracts. Among them were Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer. Biffle has already re-signed with Roush Fenway, but the other three are still without contracts for next year and beyond.
While they hold out to weigh their options, I suspect they’re not finding a whole lot out there. The issue isn’t whether there are seats available but if there are seats available that improve upon the drivers’ current situations.
The prospect of a fourth car at Gibbs, and a third car at Penske and maybe even Ganassi or Stewart Haas exists; all though are very dependent on sponsorship. And while a big name driver helps in securing that all important support, there are no guarantees.
Another option is Red Bull Racing that, at the moment, doesn’t have a single driver signed up for 2012. The problem with this team though is that its performance doesn’t come close to matching that of rival organizations. It’s very much a downgrade for top prospects Edwards and Bowyer.
Even with Gibbs, Penske et al., the best Bowyer and Edwards can hope for is a lateral move (which is why neither will go anywhere). They’re both currently driving for two of the top teams in the sport. Vickers can look around, but I doubt he’ll find any opportunities for improvement.
For Edwards, his is very much the A-team at Roush. Though he has been looking, is he going to improve upon that position somewhere else? I doubt it.
While Edwards and anyone else who may be playing the field might not be going anywhere, what talking to others does do is improve their position with their current teams. Create demand for yourself and you’ll get what you want. I’m sure it will work beautifully for Edwards.
So the long and short is, if you’re looking to move, lots of luck this year. There are no dominos to fall and no blatantly open rides to fall into. It’s just not a good year to be a free agent in NASCAR.