There is only one place that’s an instant upgrade for Hamlin, but Hendrick Motorsports doesn’t have any current openings. The best Hamlin could have done was hope Jeff Gordon retires and the organization tabbed him _ over everybody else in NASCAR _ to fill the four-time champion’s seat.
Chances are, Hamlin did some homework and learned that the 40-year-old Gordon isn’t going anywhere during this current contract window. That No. 24 seat is likely the only one that could have lured Hamlin away from JGR, and if he knows it’s not coming open then the grass at JGR is green enough for now.
That’s likely the way it’s going to play out for some time as the top-name drivers begin to outnumber the amount of quality rides.
It’s anybody’s guess if Kurt Busch is going to be able to slide back in with an elite team at the end of this season, or if Ryan Newman will end up at an organization below Stewart-Haas Racing on the food chain. Brian Vickers is still on the outside looking in, and Elliott Sadler would love to get back into the Cup Series.
What Kenseth and Hamlin did last week is show that NASCAR’s traditional “silly season” _ that time of year when drivers jump from team to team _ isn’t so silly anymore, and may never be that way again.