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Roush team may be forced down to three cars
Roush Fenway Racing is running out of time in finding enough sponsors to remain a four-car Sprint Cup team next season.

The organization needs to find sponsorship for half a season for Carl Edwards and a full season for Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. And it’s September.

That gives it only a few more months to finalize deals for 2012.

“Things are getting pushed back farther and farther, and so we’re still juggling – the goal is still to have four cars,” Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark said Sunday. “But we don’t have clarity what it’s going to look like.”

Roush Fenway announced a 17-race deal with Fastenal for Carl Edwards last week. Edwards said he thinks Aflac will return in a limited role, and with UPS reportedly also hoping to back Edwards’ car, that should pretty much fill up the No. 99 inventory.

“We’re hopeful that [UPS] will remain a key partner for us going forward, but the size and scope of that is all in discussions,” Newmark said. “Our goal is to have something on that in the next several weeks.”

Kellogg’s and Subway also have sponsored Edwards and are still in talks with Roush Fenway on whether to return to Edwards’ team or support another Roush Fenway driver.

Kenseth sponsor Crown Royal has announced it won’t return next season and UPS appears to be cutting back to the point that even if it ended up back with Ragan, he would need a great deal more sponsorship to run a full Cup schedule.

How much is a sponsorship? The U.S. Army spends $7.4 million for its 15-race deal with Ryan Newman and Stewart-Haas Racing, which works out to $493,333 per race. That is likely close to the going rate. That means a full 38-event schedule would about $18.7 million.

Few companies can afford that these days, so there will need to be a mix of sponsors sharing a car.

Newmark said talks continue with the organization’s current sponsors as well as new sponsors interested in the sport. He said he discusses all the driver options with potential sponsors.

“You really have to craft the program that works for the partner, so you sit down with the partner and talk to them about what their goals and objectives are. At the end of the day, that’s going to dictate what you do,” Newmark said.

He also has talked with free agent driver Clint Bowyer, who supposedly has sponsorship from 5-Hour Energy that would fill about two-thirds of a season. Bowyer has yet to re-sign with Richard Childress Racing and it appears more and more likely he will not return.

If he went to Roush Fenway and Ragan doesn’t have sponsorship, it would appear that Bowyer could be a candidate for the No. 6 car.

“I know Clint’s talking to a lot of different teams in the garage,” he said. “I’m not sure of the status of where he is. Anytime there is a talented driver available, … [we’ll] talk to and figure out if there is an opportunity.

“But it’s a situation where he is talking to everybody in the garage. We’re still selling David Ragan and trying to find partners for David Ragan.” Scenedaily.com

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