Kurt Busch- It is no doubt that Busch came out a loser in this year’s crazy rendition of silly season. After shooting himself in the foot, figuratively of course, he “mutually” parted ways with Penske Racing and the Shell/Pennzoil sponsor. Busch will pilot the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet in 2012. While the short term results will suffer, Busch will land on his feet, and probably in the Home Depot No. 20 Toyota in 2013. That is just my prediction.
A.J. Allmendinger- Allmendinger comes out a winner in this year’s silly season, as he was selected to replace Kurt Busch in the No. 22 Dodge. It is a step up from Richard Petty Motorsports, and there are no sponsorship angst surrounding this ride. Look for Allmendinger to become the next first-time winner in Sprint Cup.
David Reutimann- It is safe to say the Reutimann got a raw deal from Michael Waltrip. The two were friends, which makes it difficult to believe that Waltrip hung Reutimann out to dry so late in the year. Reutimann gave MWR its first two, and thus far only wins in Sprint Cup. What a way to say thanks. While on the surface, going from MWR to Tommy Baldwin Racing appears as a downgrade, Reutimann may be more comfortable working with a smaller team that is a distance from the spotlight. He may pull off an upset win on one of the restrictor plate tracks.
Aric Almirola- As of the writing of this article, no formal announcement had been made regarding RPM naming Almirola as the driver of the No. 43, but all signs point to this taking place in the near future. Almirola was unable to produce Brad Keselowski-like results in the JR Motorsports Nationwide Series ride, but he still finished fourth in the standings. I believe he may come out a loser in this deal. I think this team has too many question marks, unlike the team he will leave behind.
David Ragan- Wow, if Ragan cannot land the No. 88 JRM gig in the Nationwide Series, he will be that kid that lost the game of musical chairs. He almost landed a solid ride with Phoenix Racing before the No. 22 became available. He abandoned the No. 51 possibility and aggressively pursued the Penske opportunity. Penske chose another driver, but hey, the No. 43 was now available. However, it appears that Almirola provides some needed sponsorship, so it’s back to the Nationwide Series in the No. 88. According to Jayski, Cole Whitt is now the leading candidate for that ride. Ragan must be banging his head against the wall. Unless things change quickly and he lands the No. 88 JRM ride, he will come up a loser in silly season. It appears he may be forced to settle for TRG Motorsports, FASLane Racing, or one of the Front Row Motorsports cars.