User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: October 2012


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Newman and Borland back together again

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman slips into the Army ...
NASCAR driver Ryan Newman
gets ready to race
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I couldn't be more excited about the news that Matt Borland will once again team up with Ryan Newman in 2013. This has been my hope since Borland came to Stewart-Haas Racing. See: Who lit the match igniting the fire in Stewart-Haas Racing?

I don't for one minute expect instant success here, but I do see the potential to ramp up to that--perhaps to the level the two enjoyed in the past. They have a track record--pun intended--as a very successful team.

Normally, the notion of starting with a brand new team would be a frightening prospect. But in this case, I think a change was in order. While I don't know and can't even speculate about the cause, I have detected a lack of cohesiveness between Newman and his team. Blunders on pit road have cost Newman precious spots on the track; changes to balance the car have often resulted in worsened conditions; and Newman has even become rather testy on the radio. That is totally uncharacteristic for him which indicates there is a real problem.

While Crew Chief Tony Gibson will be moving to the #10 car as Crew Chief for Danica Patrick, the entire #39 team is going with him. There still has been no mention about who will make up the other members of the #39 race team. This will probably mean a longer transition. I can wait.

Basically, Newman will be starting from scratch next year. With a few more races this season and the change taking place this weekend at Martinsville, we may get a sneak peek at what he will be up against.

This won't be a slam-dunk for Borland. As competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, I wonder if he has physically had his head and hands under the hood. I hope he can adapt easily to the every-changing landscape that is NASCAR's new car. He will have to play catch up for a while since all the other crew chiefs that have been working with the COT (car of tomorrow). Then there are all the changes implemented by NASCAR's iron-fisted control of the sport along with mandates and rule changes. Borland will have to learn to cope with the changing priorities that has caused the cars to be virtually identical, resulting in boring racing, and evidenced by the number of empty seats at the track.

Still, I happen to like watching racing. And I love watching Ryan Newman race.  I see challenges ahead, but overall, I'm excited to watch these two work together. I want to see Newman back in Victory Lane. If Borland can help get that done, that would be ideal.
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