As we near the half way point of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there have been a lot of surprising Drivers this year, many of whom we didn't see being in the positions they are in right now.
This, for some drivers, is upsetting.
Many drivers who either were contenders for the Sprint Cup Race to the Chase or were in the Chase have so far underperformed compared to the expectations many had given them.
There are many drivers who could be named, but for times sake, I'll limit the field to Multi-Car teams (sorry Jeremy Mayfield). Cars that receive technical support will go with the team they receive support from.
Roush Fenway Racing- David Ragan
In 2008, David seemed like a breakout candidate, one who could truly contend for the Chase in 2009. However, David so far has proved to be one of the most disappointing drivers of 2009. In 2008, he was contending for wins and almost crashed the top 12.
This year, he's contending for top 20s and slowly getting closer to the top 35 cutoff. If David doesn't right the ship, it could be David, not Jamie, who is out of the Roush stable at the end of the year.
Hendrick Motorsports- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
People may not agree with this, but Dale, for all the credit the media gives him, has not proved to me yet that he belongs at Hendrick. With the equipment that he receives, Dale has yet to truly contend for a race.
In reality, Hendrick fields six cars, five of which are currently in the Chase. The one that is not, Dale, is essentially eliminated from Chase contention. He will still have a job at the end of the day, but he sure isn't earning it with his performance.
Richard Childress Racing- Kevin Harvick
Tough choice, because at the end of the day just about anyone could have filled in perfectly here. But for someone who last year made the Chase to be outside the top 20 this year is almost unheard of. This is unexplainable.
It seems that all of RCR, not just Harvick, has underperformed, yet not much has changed over there. Harvick needs to find some luck, along with the rest of RCR, to try and turn this season around.
Joe Gibbs Racing- Denny Hamlin
I know, I know, how can a guy currently seventh in points be considered a disappointment. But for arguments' sake, for someone who has some of the best equipment around, he has yet to win a race. I know that he's been close many times, but it just seems that bad luck follows Hamlin.
Examples: Pocono and Martinsville; each time he had a car capable of winning, but in the end, whether it was mechanical or just good ol' racing, he never seems to come out on top. He is disappointing solely for bad luck, and by no fault of his own. I would be surprised if he were on the list for Part Two.
Penske- David Stremme
Not much to say here, has simply been the third wheel at Penske. Many people at the beginning of the year would have thought Hornish would be here, but Stremme just looks lost out there. Eerily similar to his time at Ganassi.
RPM- Reed Sorenson
Were he not driving the No. 43, there is no doubt in my mind his sponsorship goes to A.J. Allmendinger. If/When RPM switches to Toyota or needs to make a cutback, look for Sorenson to go, with his sponsorship/number going to a better driver.
Red Bull Racing- Scott Speed
Even though he is just a rookie, for him to be outside the top 35 is disappointing. When A.J was in this situation, Mike Skinner would drive the car. Now the only thing that changes is when Speed misses a race, Joe Nemechek doesn't get to drive.
He needs to step it up, or Red Bull may need to find a "Replacement Driver" to get the car into the top 35.
That's it, folks. These are my choices for first half disappointments, you may agree with some, others you may not. Feel free to list your own first half disappointments, or compare them with mine.
P.S. This was my first article, glad I was able to complete all this in just one hour.