Ginn Racing has hit the headlines recently with the release of veteran Sterling Marlin, and probably the release of Joe Nemecheck. Much has been made about the veteran drivers being replaced by younger drivers, with most saying oit is a shame to see these veteran driver displaced, but if you start digging there may be far more to this than meets the eye on the surface.
Stats and performance is what drives the sport of NASCAR. Without good performances sponsors become hard to find, and even harder to keep, so it’s results that need to be found, and when the results are not there, heads have to roll. In this case, if the old addage, “a driver is only as good as his last race” stands, then Nemecheck and Marlin do not warrant the seats they have been occupying.
In 2007 38 drivers have had top ten finishes, while for Sterling Marlin, his last top ten in a race was 46 races ago, yes forty six races ago, more than a whole season. Even Michael Waltrip who has struggled to qualify for so many races has had top ten finishes this year, but not Sterling Marlin who has had a pretty good qualifying record.
Mark Martin is on the 01 car this year. Last year that car and team was Joe Nemechecks. Joe finished 27th in points last year, while already this year Mark Martin has more top tens and more top fives than Nemecheck had all last season, and the 01 car is sitting 10th in the owners points with the car being shared by Martin and rookie Regan Smith.
Maybe Bobby Ginn is as smart a team owner as he is a smart businessman. He had the foresight to bring rookie Smith in to share with Martin this year, and now even Martin feels Smith is ready for his chance to drive in his own car fulltime, and with Marlin just plain not performing, scraping along at the back of the field, the team has nothing to lose by replacing him with Smith, giving him invaluable experience before a full season assault next year.
When you look at it this way, Bobby Ginn may just be making another great, but difficult decision to help push his teams forward, and maybe we are not looking at the collapse of a team, but the birth of a new stronger consolidated team. We won’t know for at least a year.