I can’t believe it…we are thisclose to the Daytona 500. I am ready to get the 2009 season underway. I want my NASCAR racing. Of course, the first NASCAR racing will take place on February 7 with the Bud Shootout. And I thought it was going to be a “Smoke”-free event, but not any more my fellow Smoke friends. It was announced today the field has been expanded from 24 to 28 cars. That’s right…there can be 7 cars from each manufacturer. So that means Tony will be representing the Chevrolet camp as well in the #14. Woo Hoo!!!
This isn’t the only change that has occurred during the off season. The merger between Gillete-Evernham and Petty Enterprises was finalized, but not without some controversy. I still don’t know what happened with the #19 situation. First Sadler was in, then out and replaced by Allmendinger and then back in. Was this all much ado about nothing? At this point I don’t really care. Just get everything done so we can move on with other items in the news. Bobby Labonte left Petty and now is in the Hall of Fame Racing/Yates #96 for the 2009 season. I am glad Bobby has found him a ride for the season. I think he has some racing left in him…and after all he is a Texas boy.
We also had the DEI-Ganassi merger as well. And I read that Max Siegal left DEI to head up NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. I haven’t seen much on the DEI front, but I am sure they are busy working away over there.
Let’s see who else has made changes for the 2009 season.
- Clint Bowyer is now in the #33 and Casey Mears who came over from HMS to be the driver in #07. In my opinion, they should have left Clint in his car and put Casey in the new car. I don’t see Casey as a Jack Daniels driver.
- Mark Martin is back full time in the #5 vacated by Casey Mears. Will this be the year he will get that elusive championship? He will definitely have a pretty good shot over at HMS.
- Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will definitely be worth watching this year. They may struggle a little, but it’s going to be fun to watch.
- David Stremme is now with Penske driving the #12.
- Joey Lagano will take over the #20 for JGR. I just can’t see anyone else in the #20 right now. It is still a little new to think I will have to look for that #14 red Office Depot car on the track.
I know there have been some more driver/team/sponsor changes, but there are just too many for me to keep up with. I guess we will all need a program guide to get everyone straight.
I am a little pumped for this year. I am hoping Tony will prove to those naysayers out there driver/owners can be competitive and win. Tony is very passionate and wants to win. He will prove that he made the right decision by leaving his established life at JGR to venture out on his own. If his success with Eldora Speedway is any indication, watch out boys!