With midsummer already upon us, there's a lot of talk about what's going to happen to drivers, teams, and owners for 2010 and beyond. But in a sport in which news and rumors are now a 24/7 business, we often forget to stop and think about how the changes made during last Silly Season panned out.
So with the off week giving us a chance to stop and think, let's look at the big driver moves from 2008, and evaluate how each one of has worked out. Considering history tends to repeat itself, this is a retrospective drivers like
Martin's choice to jump back to full-time after two seasons of part-time work can be traced to
The move came with tremendous risk, considering the millions in resources that Penske has at its disposal each week. But it turns out that SHR had a few tricks of its own, increasing an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports in a year in which its chassis reign supreme.
No, Newman doesn't have a win yet, but at 7th in the points race, the way his No. 39 team is knocking on the door is noteworthy. And mark my word, the team will be standing in Victory Lane well before the year is out. As
Yet just when vultures started circling the gangly teen in the garage -- there were even some who thought Logano would be fired -- things started turning around. A 9th at Talladega was followed by two more top-10 finishes in May. From that point on, it's been nowhere but up for a rookie who celebrated a surprising hometown victory at New Hampshire at the end of June. Now 20th in Cup Series points, Logano won't make the Chase this year, but he has put himself in position to win Rookie of the Year in a landslide, easily cementing his place in the sport for decades to come.
He also made a second mistake, signing journeyman
Falling out of the top 35 in owner points after a rough start, he's failed to qualify three times while collecting more DNFs (six) than top-25 finishes (three). While, the man he replaced -- A.J. Allmendinger -- isn't lighting things on fire over at RPM, he's done enough to make this team wonder what might have been if it simply kept him around. The irony in all this madness is that Speed and the 'Dinger were former rivals during their days together in open-wheel; how wonderful would it have been to see their competitive fire light up on the same team? What a tough reminder for all how patience is a virtue.
Nineteen races without a top-10 finish will leave him looking for work at the end of the year, with primary sponsor Verizon looking for a younger, hipper driver. Considering whoever got this ride was simply keeping the seat warm for Penske's up-and-coming star