Lack of sponsorship puts future of Swan Racing in doubt

Robert Laberge

Swan Racing sent out an ominous statement Thursday concerning the future of the two-car team.

It's an all too common occurrence and a tale that's been told countless times throughout the annals of NASCAR. An ambitious businessman with deep pockets decides he wants to own a race team.

The thinking often is that success in one field of industry translates to victories on the track. Dreams of glory shroud the fact many before have had the same aspirations only to flame-out when the results never materialized and the bills begin piling up.

This was very much the tale of Swan Racing, which Thursday said the Sprint Cup team was "in the process of reviewing its current situation and the ability to continue to compete." The news come from an inability to find adequate sponsorship even with a much-hyped association with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

That Swan finds itself in the current predicament comes as little surprise.

When conceptualized team principle Brandon Davis had the intention of operating a competitive organization. He purchased the single-car Inception Racing in August 2012 and spoke of building gradually and for the long-term.

Despite a void of proper funding, Swan expanded its operation to two full-time teams for rookies Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt over the past offseason.

From the onset it was a noble plan, though one destined for failure.

While Kligerman and Whitt are regarded as young talents, they are still rookies. And first-year drivers have a tendency to wreck, which each has done with great frequency. Kligerman has crashed out of two races this season, and been in several other incidents. Whitt tore up several cars during Daytona Speedweeks.

And when they're not hitting walls, neither has shown much speed on the track. Whitt's average finish is 30.9, Kligerman 37.2, and the best result between the two is an 18th-place effort by Whitt at Fontana.

For a fledgling outfit it was an auspicious and predictable beginning to the year.

But Swan was only following a formula many other dreamers undertook previously, some with even far greater budgets.

Companies like Red Bull and Dodge have proven unable to build longstanding teams and ultimately washed-out. Red Bull lasted five years, Dodge was gone after 12. Same goes for owners who were successful in other forms of motor sports. IndyCar magnate Cal Wells formed a two-car team in 2000 and vanished seven years later with little to show.

Unlike the stick-and-ball sports, there are no franchises in NASCAR and owners don't have a vested interest in the success of other entities.

NASCAR at its highest level is big business where a cutthroat mentality is pervasive throughout the garage with the most powerful teams often cannibalizing those with lesser resources. And unfortunately, Swan is likely just the latest casualty.

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