Where are the 2010 Cup rookies?
I’m sure some team will come forward at some point and qualify for the honor, but it will likely be a backmarker or even a start-and-park.
This is a weak situation, and the direct result of the Cup guys invading the Nationwide series is larger amounts each year. In short, fewer young drivers get a chance to develop anymore, because their seats are occupied by Cup drivers most of the time.
For example, perhaps instead of running Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton in the #29 car most of the year, a young driver could have been given a shot to succeed in the quality ride, as a springboard to being a future Cup racer. I’m not picking on RCR, as that’s just one example of the all-too-common setup teams use, which leaves them not knowing who might be the next good driver at the Cup level.
Most of the successful NASCAR names of today … Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Treux Jr., Brian Vickers, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte for example … got full-time experience driving in Nationwide on their way up to the top level, often earning championships in the process.
Nowadays, NASCAR is so worried about the big names from Cup drawing people to the stands on Saturday that they are failing to pay any attention to this issue of this lack of driver development. Simply put, if you only can squeeze in a young driver about 5 times a year, the weeks when the usual Cup driver can’t make it to the Nationwide track, it’s going to be very hard to develop talent. They need to run the whole year to truly get ready for the big time.
So congratulations, NASCAR! I’ll pulling for a guy like Dexter Bean to come up with enough money to run the season and earn the Rookie of the Year honor with a string of 38th place finishes, just to help reinforce how young talent is being left on the sideline in exchange for Cup drives in the developmental series.
France’s secrets will be heard
The France family tries to keep its dirty laundry from being aired, and is highly protective of its reputation.
So they couldn’t have been too happy Friday when the judge presiding over the divorce case of NASCAR chairman Brian France decided court files and hearings will be public, not sealed like France had replied.
District Judge Jena Culler won’t release files until next week sometime in the child molestor case ... but you can bet there are some things in there that France won’t be happy to see up for public view. Hell, if you released the files on any of our lives, we’d probably be at least a little embarrassed.
Meanwhile, lurking in the near future is the court battle with Jeremy Mayfield, and if anything comes out that could bring into doubt Brian France’s judgment and ability to make decisions, this divorce case could spill over and be referenced in the Mayfield case.
Why bother, Milka?
Here’s another one, and it’s comical.
Venezuelan driver Milka Duno, who usually struggles to stay on the lead lap in Indycar races, will be testing nan ARCA car for Braun Racing in January. Yes, that’s the same test Danica Patrick will be part of, so maybe we’ll get another fight, complete with towel throwing.
Honestly, though, I don’t see how Duno coming to NASCAR is remotely serious. Anyone who has seen Duno race knows that she is pretty terrible in Indycar, so it’s a pipe dream to think she could make a jump to NASCAR right now. Don’t expect much out of this.
It’s strange to me that after so many years of looking down on NASCAR in a condescending way, drivers from Formula 1, Indycar are wanting to be in NASCAR. Funny how things change.