So far, so good.
Unless you live in Western New York or Northern Michigan, the amount of snow has fallen within reason. This slow flurry of activity mirrors the slowest season of the Sprint (at least for now) Cup season. Here’s a chilly breakdown of winners and losers from the last week.
The 2014 Sprint Cup seasons was tough for Ford. While Team Penske thrived, Roush Fenway struggled. Richard Petty Motorsports won a race but looked lost in others. Wood Brothers felt like a non-factor.
There’s reason for optimism in 2015. For starters, Team Penske still has Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. The Wood Brothers aligned with Team Penske and added Ryan Blaney, another talented young driver. RPM will move back to its old stomping grounds in Mooresville and add Sam Hornish Jr. If Roush Fenway reclaims some of its magic and its young drivers mature, 2015 could be an interesting ride for Ford.
Lose: Michael Waltrip Racing
Losing Brian Vickers is a stomach punch, judo chop and eye gouge all in one. If Vickers comes back, and I think everyone hopes that happens, he must win a race to make the Chase. That completely changes his strategy in a year where many might take the Ryan Newman slow and steady to Homestead approach.
Who does MLW get to replace Vickers? A driver who could make the Chase will want a larger commitment. Michael Waltrip can’t fire Vickers. Does MLW bring someone green in and hope? Does Waltrip himself get behind the wheel to appease sponsors? For a team in need of a bounce back 2015, the year isn’t starting well.
Draw: Richard Childress Racing
On one hand, things have been quiet in Childress camp, with Ryan Newman almost snagging a Sprint Cup title, Austin Dillon runnings tons of laps in his first year on tour and Paul Menard being fully funded.
On the other hand, things are really quiet in the Childress camp. Newman finished third or better once all year. Dillon and Menard both faded at the end of 2014. Ty Dillon is waiting in the wings with no sponsors immediately in sight. Dillon certainly can improve, but how much better can the entire team be?
It’s a slow flurry of activity at the end of 2014. Enjoy the slow pace now because Daytona is closer than you think.