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Friday, March 23, 2012

Can Michael Waltrip Racing sustain momentum?; Who will drive Dodges in 2013; Bad start for Kasey Kahne

It is now the sixth year of Michael Waltrip Racing’s existence.

The team started out in controversy (that whole jet fuel incident) and never really took off. There were moments of brightness, such as David Reutimann’s wins, but the team has never really been a consistent contender.

This year may be another story. Brian Vickers, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer all finished in the top 5 last weekend at Bristol. That’s impressive, easily the team’s best day ever overall. With a new lineup of talented drivers; Mark Martin, Vickers, Bowyer, Truex; the team has the potential to become the surprise of this season. All three of MWR’s cars hold top-10 positions in the Cup series owner standings.

Time will tell whether Bristol was a fluke. But it’s all about cars now. They have the talent, so if MWR can give its drivers the proper equipment, you might be hearing a lot more about them this year.

Might is the key word; as I am not yet sold this team can be a consistent contender. But then again, if you had told me they would all be in the top 5 at Bristol I would have laughed.

Heck, maybe Mark Martin can pull out a win this weekend; he’s pretty strong at California, and still has the talent to win. Does he have the car? We’ll have to wait and see.

Bad start for Kahne

In case you hadn’t noticed, it hasn’t been Kasey Kahne’s year so far.

He’s wrecked every single week, and now his #5 car sits 34th in the owners points. Not the type of start he wanted at Hendrick.
He’ll no doubt rebound and I don’t think he’ll be missing any races, even if he falls out of the top 35, but it’s pretty sobering to see that even great drivers can find themselves in trouble this time of year if they catch a bad run of luck.

Another car low in the standings is the Danica Patrick/David Reutimann shared ride; if that car falls out of the top 35, Danica would not have a guaranteed spot in the races she competes in, which could mean that she misses the cut and goes home. I have a feeling NASCAR wouldn’t like that very much.

Who is going to Dodge in 2013?

Dodge has unveiled their new car for Cup in 2013. Problem is they have no teams. Penske is going to Ford, Robby Gordon is a Dodge team but he’s horrible and doesn’t give them much screen time and even misses some races. So who will make the move to Dodge?

My best guess would be Chip Ganassi’s team; which is suffering as of late. Might as well try something new to try to get back in the saddle and competing again.

Beyond that, I don’t see any big teams making the move. All the big players should stick to what they have, so I’m not sure how large the Dodge stable will get.

I’m curious to see how it all shakes out.

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