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Swan Racing struggles reportedly worsen, future uncertain

Apr 19, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

Food City 250 - Qualifying Getty Images

The future of Swan Racing in Sprint Cup racing is not looking good.

The team issued a statement Thursday that it was reevaluating its future after expected sponsorship for the two-car operation of rookies Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman failed to materialize.

Afterward, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Dave Moody, host of SiriusXM Speedway, said in his blog, “Team employees were reportedly informed (Thursday) that the team is suspending operations, and many of them are already seeking employment with other teams.”

Moody added, “(the team) may not compete in the circuit’s next race at Richmond International Raceway on April 26.”

A number of different scenarios appear to be in play.

One would be complete suspension of both teams.

A second option would be to perhaps condense operations and field only one driver, most likely Cole Whitt (photo).

Shortly after team majority owner Brandon Davis issued the statement that the organization was evaluating its options, Swan minority owner Anthony Marlowe tweeted, “My mission is to ensure @ColeWhitt races in every #NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season.”

A third option, according to sources close to Moody, “there is a possibility that Whitt’s No. 26 Toyota could be absorbed into the existing BK Racing operation, if Swan Racing is unable to continue.”

Where any of those options leave Kligerman remains uncertain.

The Swan saga appears to be one of moving too fast, too soon. Davis purchased the assets of Inception Motorsports in 2012 and rebranded it as Swan Racing, with David Stremme continuing on as its driver.

Swan remained a one-car operation in 2013, although Stremme left the team after the race at Atlanta, with several other drivers filling in for the remainder of the season including Michael Waltrip, Kevin Swindell, Kligerman and Whitt.

Swan became a two-car operation in 2014 – adding minority owners Marlowe, former NFL star Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent – with Whitt and Kligerman both running full-time schedules and each vying for the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors.

Whitt is 33rd in the Sprint Cup points standings, with a season-best finish thus far of 18th at Fontana last month.

Kligerman, however, has struggled terribly, failing to finish four of the first eight races, and has yet to finish the full length of any race, often winding up several laps behind the lead lap.

His best finish to date was 29th at Daytona, although that was a DNF. His best overall finish without a DNF was last Saturday at Darlington, where he wound up 30th. Kligerman is ranked 38th in the Cup standings heading into Richmond.

While hopes and expectations were high for Swan entering the 2014 season, this week’s events paint a dismal future in the short term – if there’s any type of future remaining at all.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. chad4208 - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    “The Swan saga appears to be one of moving too fast, too soon.” Umm… you said its one of a sponsor failing to pay up or “materialize” or whatever. Another vague and unclear remark by Jerry B here. Because as long as the sponsor pays you can move as fast as you want

  2. Jerry Bonkowski - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Nothing vague about it, Chad. The team itself said so in its original media release: “The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team.”

    In other words, the team had hopes of significant sponsorship, but the sponsorship didn’t materialize. Pretty clear-cut.

    • chad4208 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      it is clear cut…just not the way you write it down

  3. gbart22 - Apr 19, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    I don’t really understand why it’s a story and to me have the drivers really struggled? What are they supposed to do in the sub standard equipment? It’s not like they are racing Hendrick equipment here. Danica is underperforming and can fairly be criticized at this point as she’s past her rookie campaign and because she’s in essentially Hendrick equipment.

    Small teams can’t operate in nascar anymore it costs entirely too much to run and with the big teams all having more than two cars other than Penske how can they really compete? Not to mention sponsors can’t even keep up and pay for full seasons anymore because of the cost so you get a bunch of 13 race specials for almost every single team. If you’re going to start a NASCAR team you better be a billionaire or have a billionaire backing you with ties to corporations who want to pay.

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