Welcome to Race Review Online’s first batch of team and driver grades from the 2012 season!
Motorsports editor Luke Krmpotich and NASCAR lead writer Sam Salo have taken on the task of evaluating the major teams and drivers from the Sprint Cup garage. Today’s edition features Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports.
Stay tuned for many more updates over the coming days and weeks!
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Sam’s grade for EGR: F-
Luke’s grade for EGR: F
EGR roundup: Jamie McMurray and Juan Montoya had seasons to forget in 2012, finishing 20th and 22nd in the final standings.
#1: Jamie McMurray
Sam’s grade: F- Describing poor Mr. McMurray’s season is simply a task of picking ways to describe “stop the bleeding”. Three top-10′s and no top-five’s. Come quickly, 2013.
Luke’s grade: F I’m not going to be quite as harsh as my colleague on Jamie Mac in inventing a special grade for EGR’s brand of awfulness, but there’s no denying the horrific nature of the season underwent by Team No. 1. Long gone are the glory days of 2010, when McMurray won the Daytona 500 and two other races.
#42: Juan Montoya
Sam’s grade: F- Forget what I said about McMurray: here is another way to describe “stop the bleeding”. Only two top-10′s, and no top-fives, adorned Montoya’s season. Translated: five total top-tens and zero top-fives for EGR. We will now find ways to describe “ouch”.
Luke’s grade: F- Okay, I am going to be as harsh as Sam with Montoya. Yes, his overall stats stunk. Yes, he failed to win at either of the road courses. But what takes the cake is his infamous run-in with the jet dryer at Daytona. You can be sure that won’t be repeated in 2013, so it seems a safe bet that things can only get better next season.
Richard Petty Motorsports
Sam’s grade: C-
Luke’s grade: C
RPM roundup: For the most part, it was a season of one step forward, one step back for Messieurs Ambrose and Almirola, who finished 18th and 20th in the Sprint Cup standings.
#9: Marcos Ambrose
Sam’s grade: C A win at Watkins Glen was practically expected, but no oval wins were to be found on yet another year’s resume. Time to turn left and snag a chackered flag, Mr. Ambrose!
Luke’s grade: C- Loftier results were expected of Ambrose, such as challenging for a wild card spot. Technically he did, since he could have sneaked in by winning a second race before the Chase, but stagnating in the high teens isn’t what this Tasmanian was hoping for when 2012 began.
#43: Aric Almirola
Sam’s grade: C A somewhat disappointing year was had by Almirola, who offset the letdown slightly be coming on quite strongly over the last five or six races. Hopes are high for starting off 2013 on a positive note.
Luke’s grade: C+ Many observers questioned the choice of Almirola for this ride before the season, noting his limited Cup experience and nominal success on the Nationwide side. After a rough beginning (and middle) to the year, AA turned things around and if things continue to improve as next season gets underway, Team 43 could be an outside contender for the Chase…oops, getting ahead of myself here. Look for steadier performances by Almirola from week to week, at any rate.
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