NASCAR's free agents, fewer races for fans and Kahne's DWTS pick
They are NASCAR's equivalents to
While both have said that their minds aren't made up, they have offered up small nuggets of information that, when coupled with their on-track performances, could be used as a guide to which teams they're leaning toward.
With that information -- and more than an ample heaping of speculation -- let's take a look at Harvick and Kahne's seasons and the odds that they'll stay with their current teams in 2011.
Happy loves a contract year. He had the best season of his career in '06 when he was in this same position and, until Monday's race at Martinsville, he was the points leader.
Harvick wasn't one to hide his frustrations with
"The most important thing to me is that we take the next step as far as making the cars better, making engines better, making everything better in order to keep the competitiveness of the team at the level that it needs to be," he said last week.
With Harvick posting four top 10s and teammates
It wouldn't be that surprising to see Harvick join friend and owner
Kahne, who is also the subject of this week's
If that's the case, he may want to go ahead and clear out his locker or whatever it is he's keeping at the Concord, N.C. headquarters. Kahne's season has been erratic at best. He crashed out at Daytona, spun out at Fontana and when it looked like he broke though with top 10s at Las Vegas and Atlanta, Kahne was 34th at Bristol and 17th at Martinsville and sits 20th in points.
Is RPM's switch from Dodge to Ford to blame for Kahne' woes? Teammate
Stewart-Haas is an option, and it will be for every big-name driver until the team expands to three cars, but the clear favorite has to be Penske Racing, where Kahne could again be under the Dodge banner and would be a contender alongside
2. From a fan's perspective, there's been little missing from the first six races. From
So ... why isn't anyone watching? Why are the races having all the drawing power of the WNBA?
It'll be said a thousand times more, but seeing 20,000 empty seats at Bristol and at Martinsville (though the weather delay did play its part in Virginia) were telling signs that not enough has been done to help the fans. It wasn't as if people just decided that after 55 straight sellouts at Thunder Valley, it was time to stay at home. Let's be honest here: they coined the phrase "NASCAR dad" for the sport's appeal to working-class and lower-middle-class people, who are exactly the portion of the population hit the hardest by the 9.3 percent unemployment rate, and when times are tough, luxuries like going to races are cut out.
International Speedway Corp., which owns eight tracks,
There's a simple math to NASCAR: fans in the seats means more sponsors will spend money to get their products on the cars so those fans will buy those products, and so on and so forth. NASCAR is in danger of cutting off its bread and butter of fan support, unless it takes further steps to make events more affordable. Otherwise fans will continue to simply stay home and change the channel.
In the latest installment of Racing Fan's video series, Kahne discusses the joy he'd take in watching