by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.July 11, 2009 11:27 am UTC 1 Comment
Silly Season has started in earnest. Fox Sports’ Lee Spencer is reporting that Robert Yates Racing may be looking to blow up their lineup in 2010 because of lack of performance from Bobby Labonte and cash cow Paul Menard.
Roger Penske may be looking to shop the seat in the #12 for the second year. David Stremme has not taken to the new car as quickly as hoped after sitting out the 2008 Cup season. The hottest property in the 2010 free agent market is Brad Keselowski and he is being looked at to fill that seat.
The Kez has been included in talk of pretty much every open seat for next year; the anticipated fourth cars at Joe Gibbs Racing or third at Stewart-Haas, a move to cup by Junior Motorsports or Keven Harvick, Inc or even replacing Junior at Hendrick.
While no one knows for sure where he will end up yet, I may as well throw my personal hope into the mix. After years of struggling to make assorted drivers work on a limited budget with 1970′s thought processes one team has taken a step back to try and re-capture it’s former glory days. While some teams have resorted to start and park strategies to get their teams trough these tough times, The Wood Brothers took to a limited schedule to try and make things work.
Bill Elliott has held down the seat on again and off again until the right deal can happen. 2010 is the year that the once proud team that saw David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and others win races in droves, needs to grab the next hot, can’t miss driver since Sliced Bread. Keselowski is young, hungry and has proven himself a winner. Eddie Wood has made hard decisions over the past year. Adding Keselowski for the entire season could be the piece to the puzzle that brings the Wood Brothers back to the front.
Sponsorship is the key; getting it and getting enough of it to be competitive. The other hard decision to be made may not be so easy and that would be to give up the teams autonomy. An alliance with Roush-Fenway/Yates as a satellite team could help solve technical and financial challenges.
One car from Roush-Fenway will be spun off to Yates because of NASCAR’s four team rule. Common speculation has had either Jamie McMurrey or David Ragan moving to Yates as a third team. But, instead of sending a lower performing team, send Greg Biffle to become the cornerstone of that operation. Proven winner Travis Kvapil is available to take over the #96 ride if Ask.com can be convinced to stay on board or other sponsorship can be found.
The Wood Brothers with help from R-F/Y and Keselowski at the wheel could be a combination that returns the once proud team back to respectability and beyond.
photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/ON PIT ROW