By admin | January 3, 2012
By Richard Allen
As was stated in the companion column to this one(Â http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1614 ), there were considerably more downgrades for drivers this off season than upgrades. So now for the bad news. Here are a few of the drivers who will find themselves in a worse situation in the coming year than they had previously.
Clint Bowyer will move from one of the sportâ€™s premier teams in Richard Childress racing to a very much middle of the road team in Michael Waltrip Racing. While MWR has shown the ability to win a race here and there, it is miles away from being up to the level of RCR.
Bowyerâ€™s departure from RCR was one shrouded in a certain degree of mystery as neither side really seemed to ever claim being the one ending the relationship. It will be interesting to see if Bowyer can help raise the bar at MWR in 2012.
And staying on the subject of MWR, another driver added to their fold in 2012 is taking a bit of a step down as well. Mark Martin will come over from Hendrick after being somewhat unceremoniously rooted out there when Kasey Kahne was announced as that organizationâ€™s new driver over a year before he could even move in. Martin will compete for MWR on a limited basis in 2012, sharing the #55(formerly #00) with team owner Michael Waltrip.
Martin had won five races in the HMS #5 car in 2009 but was winless since. Crew chief Lance McGrew was moved to that ride from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.â€™s #88 car at the beginning of 2010. Still with that said, after applying the reverse of what was said for Kahne in the other column, HMS to MWR is a downgrade.
And continuing with the MWR theme, David Reutimann was the unfortunate driver who was rooted out of that team to make room for Bowyer and Martin. It has just been announced that he will drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2012. That team has struggled in its brief history, even operating as a â€˜start and parkâ€™ for a short time. With sponsorship a major question mark, it will remain to be seen just how competitive this team will be in the coming year.
Even though MWR may not be one of the sportâ€™s major players, this is definitely a downgrade for Reutimann.
Kurt Buschâ€™s situation has been well documented on this site and any number of other racing mediums. Letâ€™s just say that his wounds were mostly self-inflicted and that he has downgraded drastically from Penske Racing to Phoenix Racing and leave it at that.
Perhaps the biggest hard luck story of the entire off season has been that of David Ragan. After winning his first Sprint Cup race in July, the young driver found himself to be the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing when sponsorship issues reared their head at that organization. However, he seemed to have the #22 car at Penske locked up until A.J. Allmendinger was hired seemingly from out of nowhere. After that, the #43 at Richard Petty Motorsports may have also been sniped away at the eleventh hour.
Now, a possible Nationwide Series opening with JR Motorsports seems to also have been only a tease. Obviously, unemployment is a serious downgrade from his former race winning organization of a year ago.
If this were a business report it would be the time to sell most of your stocks based on all these downgrades. And in a sense, it is a business report. With the economy lagging, there just arenâ€™t many places a driver can move to that would improve his/her situation as most of those rides are filled at the present time.
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