Fantasy NASCAR team preview: Richard Petty Motorsports

by C.J. Radune on January 26, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


No. 9 Budweiser Dodge

Owners: Richard Petty, Ray Evernham, George Gillet Jr.
Driver: Kasey Kahne
Crew chief: Kenny Francis
NASCAR debut: 2004
Age: 28
Career Sprint Cup wins: 9
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 14

2009 fantasy outlook: Kahne started racking up top-fives and top-10s right away in 2008, but quickly slid into a slump of poor finishes. By midseason though, he was back in full swing. He won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca Cola 600 and Pocono 500 in a four-race stretch. The ending of the season, however, wasn't as fruitful with just one top-five and three top-10s in the final 15 races. If Kahne and Kenny Francis can build on their success from the first half of 2008, we should see a strong year for the No. 9 team. View Kahne as a midrange No. 2 driver.

No. 19 Best Buy/Stanley Tools Dodge

Owners: Richard Petty, Ray Evernham, George Gillet Jr.
Driver: Elliott Sadler
Crew chief: Kevin Buskirk
NASCAR debut: 1998
Age: 33
Career Sprint Cup wins: 3
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 24

2009 fantasy outlook: Sadler was set to be replaced by A.J. Allmendinger, but Sadler threatened a lawsuit that enabled him to keep his job for the coming season. He will likely have to perform better if he wants to keep his ride into the next decade, though. Sadler was outpaced in the last five races of 2008 by substitute Allmendinger, who took over for Patrick Carpentier. However, Sadler's results followed the upward trajectory of Kasey Kahne after last year's Coca Cola 600, before tailing off at the end. Sadler is a midrange No. 3 driver.

No. 43 Air Force/PVA.org Dodge

Owners: Richard Petty, Ray Evernham, George Gillet Jr.
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Crew chief: Mike Shiplett
NASCAR debut: 2005
Age: 23
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 32

2009 fantasy outlook: Sorenson struggled throughout 2008, scoring just one top-five and two top-10s. In fact, he only managed three other top-15 finishes the entire season. In 2009 he finds himself with a new car, a new sponsor and a newly merged team. For a newly formed team, effectively sharing information and utilizing resources is a big part of future success. Sorenson could make an improvement over last season's trials. However, don't buy into his new start too much; he is still just a low-end No. 3 driver.

No. 44 Dodge - no sponsor

Owners: Richard Petty, Ray Evernham, George Gillett Jr.
Driver: A.J. Allmendinger
Crew chief: TBD
NASCAR debut: 2007
Age: 27
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 36

2009 fantasy outlook: Allmendinger really impressed Gillett Evernham Motorsports in the last five races of 2008, filling in the No. 10 car when Patrick Carpentier was released. Allmendinger finished in the top 15 in three of his final five races and 16th in another. He has won in open wheel racing, but has yet to match any real success in Cup. His perseverance was rewarded with at least seven races scheduled for 2009. He'll need a sponsor for the upcoming season, though, and shouldn't be selected in any leagues because of his part-time schedule.

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About C.J. Radune

Radune has been a KFFL contributor since January 2008.

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