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Things are starting to come together for all the teams trying to make the Daytona 500.
The big four have been set for a while. Rick Hendrick Motorsports has his four cars all set with Mark Martin coming on board to run the full season. Jack Roush has had his five teams ready since getting the UPS sponsorship lined up at the end of the 2008 season. Richard Childress Racing has expanded his group to include a fourth car with Clint Bowyer moving over from the #07 to the new #33 car with General Mills sponsorship. Joe Gibbs Racing has the kiddie corp of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and ROTY contender Joey Logano ready to hit the track.
After those four owners has been where all the craziness of the off season has revolved. It has been well documented the strife a mergers that have surrounded Chip Ganassi, Dale Earnhardt, Inc, Gillet-Evernham and Petty Enterprises. For better or worse success or failure will follow the mergered teams depending on their ability to adapt to their new surroundings, management teams and driving team mates.
With the loss of teams like Bill Davis Racing and part time seasons from Furnature Row and The Wood Brothers, the bottom feeders saw much of the change revolve around them. There has been an odd resurgence of single car–privateer teams spearheaded by Tommy Baldwin’s new entry in the Sprint Cup. While many if not most of these new teams may not even make it past Daytona; it would seem to make the fields easier for the big boys to become bigger.
Less competition outside the top four teams could make it easier for a first time winner in both the 500 and the championship. Which leads us to this week’s BUZZ ON PIT ROW:
Will 2009 be the magical season that Mark Martin wins the Daytona 500 and/or the Sprint Cup championship?
photo credit: Icon Sports Media