NASCAR's Red Bull team 'encouraged' about finding new owners, sponsors
Red Bull Racing is now actively seeking to sell all or part of its two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team to new owners and sponsors as the energy drink company prepares to pull back after this season, a team official said Tuesday.
The team's drivers are Kasey Kahne, who drives the No. 4 Toyota and already has announced plans to move to the Hendrick Motorsports team after this season, and Brian Vickers, who drives the No. 83 Toyota and is in the final year of his contract.
The team is "very encouraged about the prospects" of finding new ownership partners and sponsors for the 2012 season and beyond, Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing's general manager, told reporters on a conference call.
"Hopefully over the next 30 to 45 days we're in some sort of talks" that could lead to a transaction, Frye said.
Frye added that "it's possible" Red Bull could remain in the sport in some fashion, although "at this point we're really not sure yet." He also said it was too early to speculate about who the team's drivers might be in 2012.
Red Bull, which generally has struggled since it entered the Cup series in 2007, said Monday it was seeking outside investors after the Associated Press reported that the company planned to leave the sport after this season.
Frye said there was "no specific reason or specific situation" that prompted what he called Red Bull's "business decision" to pull back from NASCAR.
In the meantime, Frye said it was critical that the team continue trying to do well this year to keep itself attractive to new owners and sponsors.
"The better we do right now, the better everything will be," he said. "We're all paid to perform."
Kahne is 19th in the Cup championship standings as the series heads to Sonoma, Calif., for Sunday's race at the twisty Infineon Raceway road course. Vickers is 24th. Neither driver has won a race so far this year.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Brian Vickers of Red Bull Racing leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images