In NASCAR, there are two types of teams. There are the big teams, like Roush and Hendrick, that dominate the picture. But they can’t fill the field by themselves. That’s where the second type of teams come in: The small teams. It’s primarily their job to fill out the rest of the field. One might say that these teams “fill in the cracks”.
If you’ve never heard that term used in NASCAR before, it’s because I literally just made it up.
Every year, you get these small start-up teams with big dreams of going racing full-time at NASCAR’s top level. Last year, you had Prism Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing, Mayfield Motorsports Inc., and several others. They filled in the cracks.
This year, there are a few more start-up teams joining the sport hoping to, at the very least, fill in the cracks. To start out with, we have the new Dusty Whitney-owned team with driver Terry Cook. The Truck series veteran will pilot the #46 Dodge, and will contend for Rookie of the Year.
Another driver hoping to fill in the cracks(and presumably more) is Aric Almirola. The former Joe Gibbs Racing development driver is not joining a start-up team, but he is joining the small Phoenix Racing operation and will pilot the #09 car in 2010. It will be Almirola’s first year of full-time competition at the Cup level.
Finally, it was announced Wednesday that the new Latitude 43 Motorsports team would be purchasing the #26 from Roush-Fenway Racing, and plans on going full-time in 2010. Latitude 43 will be locked into the first 5 races of the season, and won’t have to worry about qualifying for those events. It has not been announced who will drive the #26 Ford, but rumors are suggesting that road-course ace Boris Said could be the driver.