Friday, March 21, 2008

Who will be the odd man out at Roush in 2010?

Beginning in 2010, no Nascar owner will be allowed to have more than 4 teams, and that presents an obvious problem for Ford owner Jack Roush, who currently fields 5 cars every Sunday. It is apparent to me, that unless something drastic happens between no and the end of 2009, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan will be the most likely drivers to be dropped from the house of Roush. Not that they won't have a job, but just not driving under the Roush banner any more.

A lot of things can happen between now and then, of course. Both drivers could win races and make the Chase, and possibly even a championship. If that happened, the decision as to which team to ax will be much tougher. As it stands now, though, McMurray has 1 win driving a Cup car for Roush, and Ragan has none.

I'm guessing arrangements are already underway to hand off which ever team Jack decides he'll have to get rid of. I'm guessing most likely, Doug Yates or the Wood Brothers will get the team, more or less intact. Both are already heavily dependent on Roush engines and engineering. With the continuing sponsor situation, I'm wondering if Yates will even be running 2 teams full time next year. I don't know what's on the horizon for the Wood Brothers either, but hope Little Debbie and the US Air Force will hang on for a few more years at least. Right now, the Wood Brothers have only made one race in 2008, with Bill Elliot driving at Daytona. Bill is scheduled to be in the car again in Martinsville, so the 21 car should get it's second start of the year next week.

Another Wood Brothers driver is waiting in the wings, of course. Actually there are 2. Jon Wood is working on a comeback to racing full time, after suffering problems last year. The other driver is everybody's favorite Aussie, Marcos Ambrose, who is scheduled to run a 2nd car for some races this year. Personally, I think that Marcos might be the future of the Wood Brothers for the next few years. The young Australian is one of the most likable drivers in the garage, always smiling, and he gives fantastic interviews. Marcos Ambrose seems to be a very talented driver, a former champion in Australia, and when he has a few wins under his belt, I think the sponsors will come in droves.

Jamie McMurray is a very likable young driver as well, and won his first Cup race in only his second start, filling for an injured Sterling Marlin at Charlotte in 2002. Since then, he has been winless at both Ganassi and Roush until he won the July race at Daytona last year. Winning was a major breakthrough for Jamie, but he's currently 36th in Cup points after 5 races in 2008, and will have to qualify his way in on time in Martinsville. David Ragan will not, being currently in 21st place in points.

It's still very early, and who knows what will happen, but as 2010 comes closer, these drivers have to be wondering about their futures.

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