Friday, September 11, 2009

A Prodigal Son Returns?

At least, that's what Ford are hoping will happen with the announcement this week that Richard Petty Motorsports have signed a letter of intent to merge with Yates and race under the Ford banner next year. That means that Kasey Kahne, after seven years, will have the blue oval on his suit rather than the funky ram...and that my stuff will all be out of date I just realised, thanks Kasey *rolls eyes*

So what does that mean (my sulking over the aforementioned merchandise not included)?

Well, that should give Ford a second organisation capable of running at the front reasonably often. However, it will also leave Penske as being the sole Dodge team and, as Chevy have proven over the years, putting your eggs in more than one basket tends to give you better options should a team not be up to snuff in a particular year (DEI last year for example).

Being the top team for a manufacturer does have its perks; just look at the stunning, pre-chase, season JGR had with Kyle Busch and Toyota last year but it remains to be seen whether Penske can pull off the same kind of thing. One has to remember though that while JGR were, without a doubt, the top Toyota team, Red Bull and MWR were able to snap at their heels on the odd occasion...Dodge won't have that luxury next year now Petty have jumped ship.

The Bud man is set to become a Ford man too.

As far as I can tell, Kahne left Ford in 2003, citing the reason that they weren't giving him the support needed for him to ascend to the Cup level. Ford didn't really like that and, in the end, things turned ugly and Kasey was forced to pay an undisclosed amount to Ford as compensation. So will the old saying of 'time heals all wounds' be proven true or will salt get poured onto said wound instead? We shall see I guess.

But what about 2009, will this hinder a late season charge by Kahne?

Possibly not given it was this team who, with Evernham's help, managed to get Dodge back into NASCAR. It was Kahne who scored the new Charger's first win at Richmond in 2005 and it was also this team who lured the, arguably, most recognisible paint scheme when Budweiser became their main sponsor last year. That's not a bad list of achievements car #9 has behind them and, with Kurt Busch's recent poor form in comparison, it may very well be Kahne who provides Dodge with their best shot of a title.

And I highly doubt Dodge would mind rubbing that in Ford's nose next year if he can pull it off.


  1. I was shocked when I read yesterday that Petty and Yates were merging.

    But I know that Ford is happy to have Kasey back in the fold. They were not to happy when he was taken out of their fold.

    Hopefully he will do better this time around in a Ford. Guess time will tell.

  2. I only found out today and nearly spat my drink all over the computer, lol

    it'll be interesting to see if Roush has any influence and try to get Jamie to replace Elliott.

  3. This was a shocker and caught everyone by surprise. Kahne's comments about his past dissing of his Ford contract were interesting.

    I dont think Cupcake will be staying at Roush, DEI #1 seems to be the place he will be with the Chip connection from old.

    Kurt has been hurting lately but I think there may have been some turmoil with Pat leaving (now THAT I CANNOT believe!) and still think they are the strongest Dodge team in the Chase.

    I dont think it helps Penske any since they were the premiere Dodge team already and they werent sharing info with Petty or anyone else so not sure what it will do. Roger will be racing Saturns one day mark my words! LOL

  4. Dodge execs said this summer that they were only looking to fund one major player, and concentrate on making that team a title contender. At that time Petty said they were staying with Dodge. I guess the brains, and the money, of the outfit (Gillette) had other ideas.

    With RPM taking over Yates, will RPM just be a RFR satellite?

  5. I don't think they have to replace Elliot. He may have a resurgence, since his best years in the past were in a Ford. Everything I have been reading has Reed being the odd man out, that would leave room for a 4th at RPM, which could be Cupcake. Sponsors will be the tough thing to find, right now Roush only has a 1/2 year for Kenseth in 2010 and if he falls out of the Chase the 17 will be an even tougher sell.

  6. I would just like to see Yates have a winning driver again even if they team up with Petty. Maybe Kasey can take up where DJ left off.

  7. I would imagine we will see more of the mergers in the future in order for smaller teams to remain competitive. The big factor is the dwindling sponsorship money considering the current economy or lack of it.

  8. Hi Tez - I don't know wheter you'll see this comment...but I did want to say how much I enjoyed reading your perspective on this topic. I havent been following NASCAR as intensely as before, and am missing much of the details. Seems like I barely make it over to change my fantasy picks each week.

    Hope every is doing well. I hope to actually get back to blogging when things settle down over here.