Welcome to the March 5, 2013 edition of Start ‘N’ Park Blog’s Stock Watch. Each week we’ll take a look at who’s rising, falling, and treading water in the world of NASCAR. This stretches all division and all aspects of NASCAR, including drivers, owners, crew members, media and fans. Finding their way onto this week’s watch includes Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick, Martin Truex, Jr., Sam Hornish, Jr., and Front Row Motorsports. Is your favorite NASCAR personality rising, falling, or treading water? Find out below.
Carl Edwards (Sprint Cup Series) - Edwards snapped his 70-race winless streak to finally get back on the radar in the Sprint Cup Series. He led 122 of the 316 laps and showed what made him the championship runner up in 2011. I think the pairing with Jimmy Fening would do great things, but didn’t expect it this soon.
Sam Hornish, Jr. (Nationwide Series) – Hornish had a very impressive day Saturday, while he didn’t win the race he did finish 7th. That might not sound impressive on paper, but he was involved in two accidents, but he and his team kept their composure and rallied for as many points as they could get. This keeps him atop the standings, all be it tied with Justin Allgaier.
Justin Allgaier (Nationwide Series) – Speaking of Allgaier he brought his Chevrolet home in the third place Saturday. Not bad for a driver who was 50/50 on returning to his team for 2013. I was hoping that it wasn’t just a charity ride for old times’ sake and he’s showing so far he can run with the big dogs. Let’s see if he can maintain this beyond two race.
Danica Patrick (Sprint Cup Series) – My big disclaimer is I know Danica could not have prevented the blown tire that ended her day. My point for putting her here is that the big high she was riding at Daytona came crashing (literally) down at Phoenix. I think beyond the restrictor plates is where she will prove whether she has it or not. She wasn’t fast all weekend and wasn’t showing much when the wreck happened.
Martin Truex, Jr. (Sprint Cup Series) – Truex came into 2013 ready to make the next step. Unfortunately, the step he took Sunday was backwards. A rear gear issue relegated him to a 36 place finish and buried him in the points. For a team that struggled to get close to a win last year, he needs a lot of points to get into the top 10 and stay there. A win could erase all that, but I’m still not sure he’s got it in him just yet.
Kyle Busch (Nationwide/Sprint Cup Series) – Busch dominated Saturday leading 142 of the 200 laps after winning the pole. He got behind on a penalty and drove right through the field as if they were standing still. Flash forward to Sunday and Busch struggled mightily. He was pushing too hard early and spun, then got trapped on the tail end of the lead lap. He kept going from the lucky dog to behind, to the lucky dog, to finally getting the lap back. In the end he finished 23rd and that certainly was not what he wanted after Saturday’s performance.
Front Row Motorsports (Sprint Cup Series) – This team can’t buy a break right now. Daytona all three cars were taken out in the same wreck, and Phoenix saw two more cars (David Gilliland and David Ragan) fall out because of accidents. The silver lining was Josh Wise finished the race and before his wreck, Gilliland was running near the front. This team is showing that maybe the Generation 6 car can be an equalizer amongst the Sprint Cup Series garage, they just need some luck on their side.