Michael Andretti might be seeking to join his IndyCar rivals, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske in NASCAR.
According to an article on SI.com Andretti has been in talks with Dodge and likely other manufacturers.
"We were looking at NASCAR real close last year, too, but it fell apart," Andretti said. "We were looking at it just as hard last year as this year and the year before."
While NASCAR remains the pre-eminent racing series in the United States Andretti is obviously interested in the commercial opportunities. But a deal to start a team with Dodge as a manufacturer would be an uphill climb.
At the moment Dodge is basically a two-car team fielded by Penske Racing which has decades of experience in the sport. Brad Keselowski has two wins, in 16 races and stands 10th in the points. But teammate, AJ Allmendinger, an IndyCar (ChampCar) émigré himself is 23rd with only one top five finish.
When you consider both the Ganassi and Penske organizations, which dominate the IndyCar series, neither has one a Sprint Cup championship. The biggest claim to fame is that each have one Daytona 500 victory.
When Toyota was a start-up manufacturer at the Sprint Cup level it took years before its first success and even now only Michael Waltrip Racing of the startups is still in business. It was only the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota by Joe Gibbs Racing which brought regular success with name drivers like Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
NASCAR, the sanctioning body, would probably love to have another team in a series where a team is almost guaranteed a starting spot week-in week out. Usually 45 teams show up for 43 spots with the 35 in owner points guaranteed to start.
Personnel won’t be too big a problem as many teams have shut their doors due to the financial crises and other factors.
On the other hand teams like Roush Fenway Racing have struggled with sponsorship to the extent that Matt Kenseth (who recently announced leaving RFR) was sponsored by Roush himself.
As for free agent drivers there’s the volatile Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman who is in a contract year with Stewart Haas Racing. Coincidentally, they were teammates at Penske Racing until Newman left to drive for Stewart.
While it’s likely that Andretti has some pretty good backing a move to Dodge would represent a huge challenge. That still leaves the door open to Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota.