It's been too long. But the wait is over, because it's back (or at least it is on its way). Finally, Chrysler is returning to Winston Cup racing, and the company is creating quite a stir in doing so.
Actually, it won't be exactly like before, because since its last Stock car appearance on the tracks of NASCAR, European giant Daimler has bought them. So now, they come to competition as DaimlerChrysler, and there is a hefty investment being made in dollars and prestige.
Make no mistake, they are pulling all the stops to relaunch the venerable Chrysler name back into the ranks of Winston Cup. To mount a top-class Chrysler Challenge in 2001, Chrysler was able to persuade one of the best and brightest in racing, Ray Evernham, to lead them. In doing so, ripples have been sent throughout the Winston Cup community.
Actually, it has proven to be more like a hurricane, whose effects will be felt for a long time. It has already produced shifts in the makeup of several teams. The only team that will be spared this raid (at least for a while) is Evernham's former employer, Hendrick Motorsports. This is because Evernham and Hendrick agreed to a hiring freeze of Hendrick personnel as a part of their separation package.
Although this kind of revolving door is not new to Winston Cup teams, this time, the sheer volume of personnel required by the Chrysler effort will be large, especially when you consider that this community is really quite small.
From a certain viewpoint, Winston Cup team personnel can react like falling dominoes. As a personnel change happens to one, it usually causes other dominoes to fall, and at this writing, they are falling.
One of the first acquisitions by Evernham is that of Crew Chief Doug Richert from the Robert Yates stable. His departure from the #28 car is only the beginning of what promises to be a very interesting season of staff changes.
In addition to the Chrysler buildup is the formation of new teams by Cal Wells and A. J. Foyt. When you add these teams into the mix, this could prove to be one of the most wild and woolly people-swapping years Winston Cup teams have ever seen.
Need A Job?With all this change, it's safe to say there will the need for some new talent in the shops of Winston Cup teams. So maybe this is the chance some have been waiting for to get into Winston Cup racing. Maybe it's time to update that rsum.-David Miller
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