Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Losing your job is a great motivation to finish well

For the most part, there was little of note that occurred Sunday in Martinsville. Jimmie Johnson continued to show he simply doesn’t have bad days, and the title is his unless there he wrecks and finishes 40th at Talladega (even then, he’d probably still be champ, to be honest).

But looking at the race Sunday, I noticed an interesting trend. Guys who are going to lose their current rides after this year had some pretty good days.

Jamie McMurray, who is leaving Roush Racing due to NASCAR’s new four-team rule, finished in 6th place. It was his first top-10 finish since the spring Richmond race.

Also, while he ended up 18th, Casey Mears raced in the top-10 for much of the day, and is on a streak that includes several solid finishes.

Both of these drives have had horrible seasons no matter how you look at it, and are in the process of figuring out their future plans. McMurray is allegedly in the process of working out a deal to drive the #1 car that is being vacated by Martin Truex Jr. at the end of the year. As these negotations continue, a few solid finishes can only help his bargaining position.

Mears is the victim of Jack Daniels pulling their sponsorship of the #07 car. Since hearing the sponsorship won’t be back, meaning the #07 car might not run in 2010, Mears has been on a tear. Coming into Sunday’s race, he had finished in the top 15 in 7 of the past 10 races. That run came on the heels of 5 top-15 runs in the first 21 races of the season.

If sponsorship can be found (highly unlikely), Mears is on the market and there is nowhere good for him to go. He will be high and dry, waiting for a good ride to open up.

The moral of the story: There’s nothing like getting fired to motivate a driver to do well, as they are forced to do everything they can to impress car owners who might offer them a ride.

And it raises another interesting point.
If a driver like Mears had done a good job like he’s doing now for the entire season, maybe he’d still have a sponsor and a ride.


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