Truex was the final remnant of the once-potent Dale Earnhardt Inc. organization. He won the 2004 and 2005 Nationwide championships for DEI's Chance 2 Motorsports, then moved up to Sprint Cup for the past four seasons. Truex won at Dover, and made the Chase in 2007, credentials that established him as the best driver available this year.
Bass Pro Shops has been Truex's primary sponsor in both the Nationwide and Cup Series -- six seasons of building his identity as the company's spokesman and advertising image. Long term associations with drivers are major assets in the marketing world. Truex will be pitching Napa Auto Parts next season.
Earnhardt Ganassi's contract with Bass Pro Shops ends following the 2010 season, leaving it a one-season window to establish a new relationship between driver and sponsor. With the team down to two full-time Cup entries and new sponsors very difficult to find in a weak economy, they desperately need to retain Bass Pro Shops with a strong on-track performance.
So who are the drivers with the best chance of delivering for Earnhardt Ganassi?
Earnhardt Ganassi would prefer to have a proven race winner and Chase contender to choose from, but none is available. But in Keselowski, there may be a slightly older and more experienced version of