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A Mid-Season Review of the NASCAR Car Owners

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson lead a pack of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. [Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images]

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson lead a pack of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. [Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images]

Turk’s Tracks

by Gene Turk

As I am writing this article, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is at the midway point of the racing season. In a previous article, I did a review of various drivers’ performance at the 1/3 point in the season. Today, I decided to do a review of the NASCAR teams from the owner’s perspective. I tried to do my evaluation based on the number of wins, top 5’s, and top 10’s for their car teams or team. I also chose to look at how well their cars were qualifying, winning segment races, causing a crash verses being caught up in a crash, blown engines,etc. Then there were the intangibles, like what may be happening outside of the race track. So here we go. Let the chips fall where they may.

 

  1. Chip Ganassi Racing – Cars #1 and #42     2 wins, 10 top 5’s, 22 top 10’s

I can’t help but give this owner a high mark. Both of his cars are running well. His #42 car has a slight one point advantage in first place. The cars are qualifying well and finishing well as seen by the high number of top 10 finishes. Also, I never count the #1 car out to win a race. Overall, a great performance for this group.

Grade – a strong A

 

  1. Furniture Row – Cars #77 and #78      3 wins, 7 top 5’s, 17 top 10’s

Another well-performing group. The # 78 car is in second place in points. The #78 team is leading the way with its three wins and is running very well by winning segment races and is qualifying well. Even the #77 team has found a way to get a top 5 place finish and 5 top 10’s. For a team owner that may not have the deepest pockets, they seem to do the most with what they have.

Grade –  A minus

 

  1. Joe Gibbs – Cars #11, #18, #19, #20    0 wins, 15 top 5’s, 29 top 10’s

This is a group that has me a little baffled. On paper, this looks like a real powerhouse team, but yet the win column has a big goose egg. By this point in the season, I expected to see a Joe Gibbs car (or cars) in the Winner’s Circle. However, the #18 team is in third place in points. It seems that the #18 is very good at winning the first and/or second segment races, but not the final segment. Also, I have to take into consideration that the #18 team has had fines and suspensions along with multiple crew chiefs up to this point. Not a typical Joe Gibbs operation.

Grade – C plus

 

  1. Stewart-Haas – Cars #4, #10, #14, #41.  2 wins, 12 top 5’s, 27 top 10’s

These guys have really impressed me. You can’t help but give a high mark for winning the Daytona 500 with the #41 car. Then the #4 car drives into the winner’s circle later in the year. I then noted that the #14 team is coming on strong with a couple of second place finishes. This group didn’t seem to have any trouble moving from Chevy to Ford this year. I do have to mention that the #10 team has not really been able to contribute much this season with only a single 10th place finish. Again, I’m trying to see this rating through the owner’s perspective.

Grade – B minus

 

  1. Team Penske – Cars #2 and #22   3 wins, 16 top 5’s, 21 top 10’s

Boy, did these two teams step up to the plate and hit a homer. Both teams found a way to get their car into the Winner’s Circle. The #2 team leads the way with 2 wins already. The cars are qualifying well and can win segment races. If not for some crashes, they could be higher in the point standings, but are still doing very well. Roger Penske certainly has his boys hitting on all cylinders.

Grade – A

 

  1. Hendrick Motorsports – Cars #5, #24, #48, #88     3 wins, 12 top 5’s, 24 top 10’s

This group is kind of a feast or famine comparison. On the top is the #48 team with 3 wins, the most of any driver so far this season. The #24 team is in 5th place and is running well. But yet, the #88 team is not having the year that they had hoped for with only one top 5 and only 4 top 10 finishes. The #5 team also seems to be struggling. A couple of blown engines on the #88 due to missing a shift along with crashes pulled the grade down. With all of that said, I fully expect Chad Knaus to have his #48 team in the hunt for another championship.

Grade – B minus

 

  1. Richard Childress – Cars #3, #27, #31    2 wins, 7 top 5’s, 11 top10’s

This group was a surprise to me. They were able to get two cars into the Winner’s Circle, #3 and #31. Also, it seems like the #27 team has stepped up their game and is putting in some top 5 finishes. The only thing lacking is some more top 10 finishes and perhaps better qualifying runs.

Grade – C plus

 

  1. Wood Brothers – Car #21   1 win, 3 top 5’s, 7 top 10’s

After all these years, the Wood Brothers can still find a way to win a race. The next win for the Wood Brothers will be win #100. Truly amazing! All things considered, a decent run as the halfway point approaches for the season. All that is needed are a few more top 5’s.

Grade – C minus

 

  1. Richard Petty Racing – Car #43   0 wins, 2 top 5’s, 3 top 10’s

Not too much to write about here. We know that this team can win, but the team isn’t qualifying all that well or is it winning segments. The only way to go is up.

Grade – D

 

  1. Roush Fenway – Cars # 6 and #17     2 wins, 4 top 5’s 9 top 10’s

To start, a great job by the #17 team to win a pole and two races. Not so much for the #6 team with only two top 10’s. The #17 team is the bright spot for this owner; I do have to give a good grade for the impressive wins. We just might see the #17 with another win.

Grade – B minus

 

I hope that you enjoyed the review from the owner’s perspective and that it gave you some food for thought as we approach the second half of the racing season.

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Gene Turk was born with racing in his blood. At age 8 he started racing Quarter Midgets as member of the Great Milwaukee Quarter Midget club. For five years he raced the #7 car that his father built. He then graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) with a degree in Industrial Engineering and Internal Combustion Engineering.

While in college he obtained his Private Pilot’s License.

Along the way he has attended numerous Indy car and stock car races at the Milwaukee Mile during the 60s, 70sand 80s along with area Midget car races. He would also frequently fly to the Brickyard to watch the Indy 500 time trials in the 60s and 70s and more recently attended the 2014 Indy 500.

He has also attended numerous sports car and NASCAR races at Elkhart Lake Road America. Finally, Gene has owned many classic cars including his present 1990 Corvette and is a self-described “Gear Head.”