After just one year, Circle Sports has ended its relationship with The Motorsports Group, leaving TMG scrambling just a little more than two months before Daytona.
If you're wondering why a team that had Jeffrey Earnhardt driving the No. 33 is scrambling, it's because ESPN has announced he's been released from his contract.
In January, the teams announced their partnership called Circle Sport-TMG and both sides seemed happy about the arrangement. "It's great to join forces with Curtis Key. I've known him for a very long time and know we share the same feelings about racing," Circle Sport owner Joe Falk said in a news release at the time.
But something has gone amiss, and Falk decided to end the partnership, the teams said in a press release. TMG owner Curtis Key Sr., in the release, issued a terse statement: "We wish them the best. I will continue on this journey and look to rebound for 2018."
This move leaves TMG scrambling for a driver and sponsors, but Key said he expects to make driver announcements in early January.
Here's the entire press release:
JMOORESVILLE, N.C., (December12, 2017) - The Motorsports Group (TMG) announced today that Circle Sport will be not be returning in the managing partnership for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.
The decision to cease came Monday (December 11, 2017) from Circle Sport owner, Joe Falk.
"We wish them the best", stated TMG owner Curtis Key, Sr. after being informed of the decision on Monday morning, "I will continue on this journey and look to rebound for 2018".
Eddie Pardue will continue with The Motorsports Group. Pardue who took over the crew chief role of the #33 Chevrolet midseason from Pat Tryson will serve as crew chief of TMG's 2018 entries. "Eddie and I have known each other for a long time, since the Busch Series days, I am happy that he will continue on with us", said Key.
TMG is currently seeking a driver and sponsors for next seasons entry, "This is sudden for us but we put a plan together rather quickly, we've had discussions with potential drivers but it's only been a day since the news and we have more calls to make, we look to have a driver announce in early January", added Key.
The TMG Chevrolet Camaro will debut at Daytona for Speedweeks in February 2018. There is currently sponsorship opportunity available for both primary and associate partners.