|By Guest Blogger – Paul Oliveri|
Over the last seven years or so, fans, myself included, have complained about Sprint Cup drivers dominating in the Nationwide Series. Last year, it took a series eligibility rule to give a Nationwide regular, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the title for the first time since Martin Truex Jr. won his second straight “Busch” – now Nationwide – Series title in 2005.
Between 2005 and 2010, Cup regulars Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski have hoisted the Nationwide Series’ championship trophy.
Below are my suggestions on who should be in the cars occupied by Cup drivers. These likely won’t happen since most sponsors won’t be willing to put money into a rookie driver, or someone with little experience.
- Trevor Bayne in the #6 car and move Stenhouse up to the Cup Series. If Roush doesn’t feel Ricky is ready to jump into Cup full time, Bayne can drive the 60, which is where he is now, though he hasn’t found sponsorship.
- Darrell Wallace Jr. in the #18 car for 15 races, and have Denny Hamlin race whenever Wallace doesn’t race.
- Take Joey Logano out of the Cup Series, and put him in the #20 car full time in Nationwide. Logano has done phenomenal in Nationwide this year, with 3 wins already. With Logano struggling in Cup, many people feel time in Nationwide will help Joey and give him a chance to “start over” in Cup.
- James Buescher in the #30 car full time. The Texas native shocked everyone with his win at Daytona in February, and has an amazing résumé in the Truck Series, which might have included a title had he not DNQ’d at Phoenix last year.
- Ryan Truex in the #33 car for a minimum 20 races. Have him run part time to prepare him for a full 2014 schedule. Have him split time with Paul Menard, who has sponsorship in his back pocket, and can also learn more for his own career.
- Have Ryan Blaney run the #36 car part time in 2013 to prep him for a full slate in 2014. There is no question the kid can drive a race car, and younger fans love him already. The limited schedule will have him ready.
- Brad Sweet in the #38 car full time. Great Clips already sponsors him now, as well as with Kasey Kahne Racing, so that shouldn’t be difficult.
- Have Kyle Busch and Jason Leffler split a season in the #54 car. Jason has the experience to run in Nationwide and possibly return to Cup. Leffler already drives for KBM in the Truck Series.
These are only my opinions. Some could be possible with the right sponsors, but aren’t likely. But who’s to say no one will step up and sponsor an up and comer looking to make his way into the top rungs of the NASCAR ladder?
So what do you think about Sprint Cup drivers in the Nationwide series? What, if any, changes would you recommend?