All Quiet on the NASCAR Front?
It has been pretty quiet on the NASCAR front pre- and post-Super Bowl. Bill Romanowski was announced as a minority owner in Swan racing. His energy supplement will be a sponsor of the car.
And former driver Timothy Walker was arrested after leading the cops on a multi-state chase. Needless to say drugs were involved. And that is why he is a former NASCAR driver. Walker was suspended by NASCAR in 2007 for failing drug tests.
And Michael Shank racing was stripped of its Rolex 24 3rd place finish when it was found that the engine had out of spec modifications made to it.
That is quite the black eye for the team.
NASCAR keeps talking up the new Gen6 car, but we all know that as cool as it looks, we really won’t know much about how it races until we get the cars on the track and have 43 of them zipping around. I know I am hoping that it runs better in dirty air and isn’t so blasted aero sensitive.
OK, onto more of the drivers to watch in 2013.
Marcos Ambrose returns to Petty motorsports after his thrilling Watkins Glen win last year. That was arguably one of the best races all season and definitely the best wheel-to-wheel finish we saw. Ambrose needs to prove he can get it done on something other than a road course. After his win, he had to top 5 finishes then never finished above 12th place for the remainder for the season. His average finish over the final 12 races was 21.6 – that is not the way to go into 2013 on an up note. His 8 top ten finishes were weighed down by 15 finishes outside the top 20. Ambrose can qualify decently, he just needs to start bringing it home in the top 15 on a regular basis before we can take him seriously.
Teammate Aric Almirola had only 5 finishes in the top ten last season and needs to do far better to keep his ride, in my opinion. He resigned with Petty for the 2013 season in his first full time season. But I don’t know how much patience Petty can afford to show. Almirola comes cheap and can garner a few top 10 finishes but he’ll need to show improvement overall to stay there long term.
I am not sure what JTG Racing has in mind for Bobby Labonte. Labonte usually brings the car home in one piece and he did earn over $4 million last year, but he had only one top 10 finish all season after having 3 in 2011. We know Toyota has a stout racing program so what gives? Maybe they are content to just race and bring it home in one piece as often as they can. JTG is not one of the richest race teams so I am sure they are doing what they can to get by without breaking the bank. Daytona is always a crapshoot and Labonte did finish in 4th in 2011, so maybe the team can get off to a good start in 2013 before they fall off the cliff again.
Mark Martin is running another partial schedule with Michael Waltrip racing. He had 10 top 10 finishes and 4 poles out of the 24 races he ran. That is a pretty good average if you ask me. Martin is the guy who seems to never tire of racing and he certainly still has talent. Who knows where he will be in 2014, but you can be sure he will be racing somewhere. I look for Martin to continue his streak and maybe even win a race in 2013.
OK, that’s enough for now. More later. Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts!!