BRISTOL, Tenn. - Gillett Evernham Motorsports could expand to four Sprint Cup Series teams next season regardless of what transpires with rookie Patrick Carpentier.
Carpentier remains under contract with GEM, but has agreed to a four-week extension on the deadline. The organization has an option on the driver's services for 2009, said Mark McArdle, GEM's vice president for competition.
"Until Patrick knows what his fate is with us, he is not able to negotiate a deal with anyone else. What we've done is asked him for another four weeks to make a more informed decision. We love him. He's a phenomenal driver," McArdle said.
The organization is currently seeking sponsorship commitments for Carpentier's No. 10 Dodge for next season. Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler currently also drive in the Cup series for GEM.
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McArdle said GEM has also been in talks with other drivers about a fourth Cup team for 2009. He declined to name any of those contacted, but sources said Friday the driver at the top of the list is Reed Sorenson, currently with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Sorenson declined to comment on Friday.
"We absolutely could add another team. We certainly have been talking to drivers. You've got to have that list in mind if you are serious about expansion," McArdle said.
The deadline is fast approaching for a decision on adding another team, McArdle said.
"Simply from a competition standpoint, we need to know very soon," he said.