If Tony Stewart thinks that becoming a NASCAR owner-driver next season will be a panacea for his career - even with hefty support from General Motors and Rick Hendrick - maybe he should drop by Robby Gordon's hauler or motorcoach for a while.
Gordon gave up a solid job as a driver for Richard Childress four years ago to set up a NASCAR team of his own and be his own boss. But he's winless on the Cup tour since.
And there are signs that Gordon, typically upbeat and optimistic about his life on the tour and in off-road races, is getting beaten down by the winds of fate.
First, there was the Dakar disaster. That January off-road race has been a showcase for Gordon's offseason the last few years, and with major GM support he was banking on beginning this season with something splashy. Then the race organizers decided that terrorist threats were too serious and they canceled it. A substitute race through Romania and Hungary was no make-up.
Then he went through a bad run of luck in the opening weeks of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. An eighth in the Daytona 500 seemed promising, but Gordon didn't score a top 10 again until the tour returned to Daytona in early July.
Sponsors are hard to come by this season, and Gordon has been forced to run an unsponsored black paint scheme more times than he expected. Now he's under the gun to get Jim Beam back as sponsor for 2009.
Gordon swept the road races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen in 2003 while driving for Childress, and the case can be made that he made a major mistake leaving Childress.
He also may have made a big mistake in leaving the Chevrolet camp. Last year, he was with Ford, but the big story there was car owner Jack Roush's taking Gordon's crew chief, Greg Erwin. This year he jumped to Dodge just days before SpeedWeeks opened - and NASCAR ripped him for $100,000 for having the wrong bumper the first day. He did win an appeal of a points deduction, but he's still just barely hanging in the top 35, the cutoff for having a guaranteed starting spot in each Sunday's field.
Gordon will be 40 for next season's Daytona 500 - not a doomsday milestone by any means, but Gordon needs to start making things happen.
But the bottom line is that Gordon needs to line up big sponsorship for next season. The benchmark is about $30 million, the budget that the top NASCAR Cup teams have to work with. The bare minimum, according to car owner Felix Sabates, is $22 million.
That's a lot of money for anyone to try to persuade a company to spend in the sport, particularly on a team that is still winless.
So it may be over-the-top for anyone to suggest that Gordon needs to be making plans to expand to a second team. Single-car teams don't have much chance in NASCAR these days.
But maybe Gordon can put together something for a second team, because it takes at least a two-car operation to have a prayer in this sport.
"We'd like to position ourselves to win races," Gordon said. "A second car is going to help in that. The thing is, who's going to pay for it, how are you going to do it, and what sponsors are going to be involved in it?"