Will Cole Whitt Succeed with BK Racing?

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Will Cole Whitt Succeed with BK Racing?
Chuck Burton
Cole Whitt will retain his No. 26 from Swan Racing in his move to BK Racing.

With the recent disbanding of Swan Racing, Sprint Cup rookies Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt were the most affected by the breakup. But while Kligerman's Sprint Cup future isn't certain, Whitt's No. 26 Toyota along with Whitt himself have been absorbed into fellow Toyota organization BK Racing. 

While the move stabilizes Whitt's Sprint Cup future, it doesn't look like much of a change in status for the 22-year-old Californian.

Whitt showed flashes of brilliance early in his NASCAR career, such as briefly leading the Camping World Truck Series points in 2011 as a rookie driving for Stacy Compton. The year before saw him finishing fourth in the K&N Pro Series East points with with six top-fives and seven top-10s in 10 starts. 

His Nationwide career has been checkered at most. In 2012 he campaigned the No. 88 for JR Motorsports in his campaign for Rookie of the Year, a race he ultimately lost to Austin Dillon. However, he finished seventh in the points despite not winning a race, with four top-fives and 14 top-10s. In 2013 he only participated in 15 races, earning four top-10s for TriStar Motorsports.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Swan Racing's struggle with sponsorship is one of the primary reasons Whitt and the No. 26 was transferred to BK Racing.

It isn't a question about talent, because the talent is there. Had Whitt not been rushed by teams so desperate for drivers, he would've been able to cultivate his skills behind the wheel and possibly boosted his stock for other teams.

Looking at BK Racing, there isn't much of a difference between that organization and Swan Racing. A good thing for the BKR Toyotas is that they have firm sponsorship in place for the 2014 Sprint Cup season. However, unlike Swan, BKR already has a pair of DNQs this season, with Ryan Truex's No. 83 at Daytona in February and again at Texas earlier this month.

BK Racing has struggled more in recent years than it did in their first year of operation in 2012. With one top 10 in 159 starts despite a grand total of three DNQs, their Toyotas just have not been up to the task of competing in the Sprint Cup Series. It doesn't help BKR's trio of rookies (counting Alex Bowman in the No. 23) that for the entirety of the 2012 and 2013 seasons the previous BKR drivers didn't fare so well either.

Phelan M. Ebenhack
Alex Bowman recorded a season-best finish of 22nd at Fontana for BK Racing.

Outwardly, BK Racing seems to be an ideal place for an up-and-coming rookie like Whitt, yet the truth of the matter is that the inclusion of the No. 26 wasn't a great idea for a team that is already struggling. Neither the No. 83 of Truex nor the No. 23 of Bowman haven't fared well this season, with a season-best finish of 22nd at Fontana (a race that was as wild and unpredictable as Talladega usually is) by Bowman.

As talented as Whitt is, it was a mistake to bring him up this early, especially to a struggling team like Swan. Granted, he finished 18th at Fontana in the No. 26, better than either BKR rookie in 2014. But aside from all that, it's a tall order to expect Whitt's fortunes to change in 2014.  

Joseph Shelton is also a contributor to SpeedwayMedia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Shelton500.

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