Swan Racing owner: ‘It stopped being fun for me’

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Swan Racing closed its doors Wednesday. Cole Whitt moves to BK Racing, and Parker Kligerman is without a ride.

From a shortage of sponsorship to overly-ambitious expansion plans, one could point to a number of reasons for the demise of Swan Racing, which announced a cease of operations Wednesday.

Among the many culprits to cite for the downfall of the once-fledgling Sprint Cup organization is the simple fact that being a NASCAR owner was no longer enjoyable for team principle Brandon Davis.

"At the end of the day (expansion) did not make that much of a difference. I honestly feel like we had a better shot with two drivers, two cars and being able to price (sponsorship) lower."-Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis

"It stopped being fun for me," Davis told SB Nation in an interview Wednesday. "It's as simple as I can put it."

A decrease in satisfaction along with other factors contributed to the team stating last week that it was reevaluating its future. That future was revealed Wednesday.

Swan minority owner Anthony Marlowe is taking the No. 26 team and driver Cole Whitt to BK Racing, which becomes a three-car team with Whitt joining fellow rookies Ryan Truex and Alex Bowman. The No. 30 Swan team has been sold to John Cohen of XxxTreme Motorsports, which will put J.J. Yeley behind the wheel.

It's a series of maneuverings that leaves Swan's second driver, Parker Kligerman, without a ride.

When Davis entered NASCAR in 2012 buying the former Inception Motorsports, he visualized slow growth for the single-car team. But with opportunity presenting itself and with "soft sponsorship commitments," the decision was made to expand for the 2014 season.

The funding never materialized, however, and it quickly became apparent to all involved that Swan was staring at a bleak future. And with other business ventures growing and demanding more of his time, Davis began exploring his options.

"The things we thought were there didn't come and that put us in a pretty tight position right out of the gate," Davis said. "We had a set amount of sponsorship that Swan Energy (Davis' oil and gas company) was budgeted to sponsor and we had some people who didn't pay us. At the end of the day we gave it all we could and none of the deals we thought were out there and were told were done came through.

"The time factor was also a big part of it for me."

For the past month, Davis has been working to lineup jobs for his crew members with most he says finding employment elsewhere. That does not include Kligerman, who finds himself on the sidelines just eight races into his rookie season.

Although uncertain if he will ever own a NASCAR team again, Davis is open to the idea if proper funding is collected. If that sponsorship is found Davis would like Kligerman, still under contract to Swan, to be his driver and has asked the 23-year-old to keep him informed about future plans.

"I'm not completely walking away," Davis said. "We're going to step back and let the dust settle. As for as Parker staying with me, we'll see where it goes. Who knows? ... I have a few ideas and options."

The notion that expansion to two cars contributed to Swan folding is one Davis dismisses. He says whether the team ran one or two teams does not change the current situation and would have "made no difference."

According to Davis, if Swan fielded just a single entry this season, it would have prolonged the team's existence by no more than a month.

"The time factor is still there. The sponsorship pieces are still there," Davis said. "At the end of the day (expansion) did not make that much of a difference. I honestly feel like we had a better shot with two drivers, two cars and being able to price (sponsorship) lower."

A newbie owner in the world of big-time stock-car racing, Davis admits every day was a learning experience and has no regrets.

"There are a lot of moving parts and pieces to NASCAR that I had no idea existed 18 months ago," Davis said. "Even until the last couple of weeks I was figuring things out processes that were in place. I learned a lot -- what to do, what not to do. But if you're going to get involved in the sport that you need to have very good management in place before you open the doors, and if you don't you can't succeed."

And if he could do it all over again, what would Davis do with his newfound knowledge?

"I didn't know and I didn't hire anyone who knew enough about the business side that could help us get to where we needed to go," Davis said. "As far as lessons learned, you need to get the team in place from a personnel standpoint before you pull the trigger."

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