Posted: 1/16/2012 9:48:07 AM
Not a great way to start your posting in this forum hammering on my boy!!!! But I agree with Tree, there are several things last season with Joey that people around here don't know about and a change was absolutely a necessity to turn his career around. Joey has a ton of talent and I am glad that a lot of people on several boards, including the media are talking about how Joey is not a "burnt bread". It's funny how one bad season can turn the media on a driver, last year they were talking about how he was a chase contender going into the season. Fact is he had a bad year and again, no need to dwell on 2011 but there were certainly things internally that led to his dismal season. Ratcliff was the perfect pick for Joey and I expect great things this year.
Now he and Ratcliff have to produce. No doubt. HD in their last year and they want results. They want someone running up front every week, contending for wins and a chase berth. At this juncture I am not exactly sure where Joey needs to land to extend HD BUT it will be a minimal couple of wins, leading laps, running up front and competing for the chase I believe. He gets a small, very small pass because he is still only 22 so I think if he missed the chase barely he would get extended but this has to be the year of results or his days at JGR in the Cup Series are numbered.
VD is correct, blown engines were a huge issue with JGR last year and especially for Joey. With TRD on board that is resolved and a great move. Expect the Yotas to be very fast all year and expect ALL of JGR to be ready for this season.
The 5 was fast through testing. HMS is the best organization out there and Kasey is going to be a great element to the program. Now I am going to caveat this by saying I think Kasey is a better driver than Junior (Tree don't hammer me, I just feel Kasey is more solid on every track surface but I am not saying Junior is bad, just I think Kasey is better) but we have seen this story before. The media and fans hype a driver because he is coming to HMS. He is going to have a monster season. He is bringing his CC with him so the transition isn't going to be that much.... Junior was supposed to win a minimum of 5 races and compete for the championship right off (those were mostly Eury Jr's comments at Junior's press conference anoouncement). All I am saying is just because all elements SEEM to be in place doesn't MEAN it is going to happen. Again I believe Kasey to be the better driver between Junior and him but I think Kasey could struggle a bit coming into the season just as Junior has since coming over. The EXPECTATIONS are some Kasey has never felt before and that is a big deal. He has a great temperment but this is a TEAM deal. St. Francis is going to have pressure, the pit crew is going to have pressure, Kasey is going to have pressure. I am not saying I would be surprised if he came out and smacked it out of the ballpark I am just saying I think the hype is too much and he may struggle some to where IT IS EXPECTED. I know some may say well look what Mark did when he first came over. Please, lets not compare Kasey and Mark (yet in his young career) and Kenny while solid is NOT Gustaffson as a CC. Just my thoughts.
Kurt is going to be my pick for the 500. He has all the car he needs to win this year for once and IMO is the best plate driver out there. He and the 78 will be teamed throughout the race and if there is some carnage he has some "other" teammates that can help out. I think Kurt is going to make this season fun to watch in that 51 car. If he can keep that mouth in check (And that is a HUGE IF) he will land a big time ride next year (maybe even the 20 if Joey doesn't have the season needed as I explained earlier).
I do know this though, I am ready for some racing