To say that the finish to the Daytona 500 was a disappointment for Richard Petty Motorsports would be an understatement.
After a confidence building Speedweeks that saw Budweiser/Team USA driver Kasey Kahne win the second Gatorade Duel, with strong showings from A.J. Allmendinger and Elliot Sadler, the finishes for the team as a whole were less than impressive.
Paul Menard in the number 98 Menard’s/Peak Ford had the best showing of the four RPM cars with a 13th in the 500.
Sadler finished 24th, Kahne was the victim of an accident and finished in 30th, six laps down. Allmendinger finished 32nd, 10 laps down.
Sadler, Kahne, and Allmendinger can all take positives away from Daytona, despite their less-than-stellar finishes. All three cars were up front at some point in the race and Kahne was running with the front pack of cars for a good majority of time before and shortly thereafter the lap 78 stoppage for the track issues in Turn 2.
But, like the rest of the Sprint Cup Series, RPM, I’m sure, couldn’t wait to get away from Daytona, Florida, potholes and all.
Heading into Fontana on Sunday, RPM looks to bounce back. With it being only the second race of the season, it is certainly way too early to be counting anyone out.
Sadler and Kahne both have wins at Fontana and tracks like California seem to be Kahne’s forte. At these mile and a half tracks, Kahne has nine wins, 33 top fives, and 58 top 10s, according to his driver page on NASCAR.com.
According to NASCAR.com, he has an average finish of 14th at California, with three top fives and seven top 10s.
Sadler has two wins at the size track of California, but only the one win, one top five, and one top 10 in his history at Fontana.
Neither Menard nor Allmendinger have finished better than 10th at Fontana in Sprint Cup competition.
As far as predictions go, I think that Kahne will be the top-runner from the RPM stable. These tracks are his bread and butter, and must continue to be that way if he is to have a successful season.
Look for Kahne to finish in at least the top 10, with Sadler and Allmendinger cracking the top 15. Menard could have an up or down day, depending on if he is able to get out of the way of trouble in the back of the pack.