Hope all of our Alt-Driver readers had a good week. Even though the off season is still in full swing, it doesn't mean there wasn't any news. And there were some interesting moves, so lets get to our Random Thoughts.
Ryan Truex out at Hattori Racing
So this is the stunner of the week. Ryan Truex, who had the best season of his career in 2017, is out as the primary driver for Hattori in the truck series. The question is, why? One report says Truex decided to leave; the Hattori press release referenced how hard it was to "move on" from him. So who knows which way is up? We just know that, as of now, he won't be on the track. Hopefully, someone will grab him -- fast. He's got too much talent to be sidelined.
Brian France, NFL owner?
So what do you believe on this one? NASCAR denied a report that it's CEO, Brian France, is heading a group to buy the NFL's Carolina Panthers. OK, take that at face value. But as it turns out, basketball great Magic Johnson told the Washington Post he talked to France about bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles -- and France denied that report, too. France has so little credibility with NASCAR fans that he could say the sky is blue and he may not be believed. But in this case, I believe he's at least kicking the tires.
Tommy Joe Martins shuts down his truck team
As in any business, it's all about the bucks. Martins couldn't keep it going, not if it meant losing $300,000 to $400,000 a year. I can't help but wonder whether NASCAR can do something to help the small guys stay on the track and stay competitive. They're scrappy, resilient, hard working -- much like their fans. Sure, the big teams are great, and the sport needs them. But for every Chip Ganassi Racing, there are, what dozens of little guys who could make a respectable showing if they just had the funding. NASCAR would get awfully boring if there were no underdogs to root for.
- Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers an item? She just lost a lot of Chicago Bears fans.
- Dale Jr. was his usual stand-up self by sticking up for Ryan Truex. His shadow will extend over the sport long after he's gone.
- Gas prices are going up. Why the surprise? They've been low a very long time.
- Three arrested in Childress break-in. Great job by law enforcement getting those guys off the street.
- Jeff Gordon jumps off a cliff into water in the Bahamas. Can you spell bad ass?
- How is it that some guy can be arrested 43 times -- including eight DUIs -- doesn't at least have his car keys taken away?
- NASCAR building a track in Mississippi? It should fix the attendance problems at its other tracks, first.
- Dale Jr. says Christopher Bell is the one driver who can keep JR Motorsports from a championship. What a compliment.
- Congratulations to the families of Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, who have each been blessed with newborns.