As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads into New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, the “Chase” will be the talk of the town. However, not every driver has their focus on the chase as some see the last ten races of the 2010 season as an audition for 2011.
Look at Dave Blaney. These last ten races for him may be the most important of his career. His career was basically over when he and PRISM Motorsports decided to part ways in August. Yet, as soon as Blaney could get his butt on the couch his phone rang. It was Tommy Baldwin, owner of Tommy Baldwin Racing and a little while after that, Bob Jenkins owner of Front Row Motorsports called him needed his help. Now Blaney will split the last ten races between Baldwin’s No.36 Chevrolet and Front Row’s No. 38 Ford. If Blaney can prove to his naysayers that he can still race he may have a ride for 2011, in either one of these rides. Not a bad deal for a guy who’s career was almost over.
Then there’s Jeff Green. The Owensboro, Kentucky native hadn’t run in a cup race since the 2007 season. In fact Green had only run in about 20 NASCAR races the last two seasons. Yet, a break led to Green splitting the No. 26 Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford with Canadian Patrick Carpentier. It now appears Green will be used for the short tracks, after making Bristol and Richmond on time. Green had been out of the sport for most of the last two seasons, and now has a chance to show some people what he can do these next ten races.
Landon Cassill is another driver who has an opportunity this year. In 2009, Cassill ran just one Nationwide race. It was a sad what the economy had done to one of the sport’s best rising stars. This year Cassill has had the opportunity to drive the No. 09 and No. 71 Chevrolets in the Sprint Cup Series. It hasn’t been exactly the best rides for Cassill, but it’s something. He now has an opportunity to run those cars next year if proper funding is found. Last week the 71 car had funding and Cassill ran his first race in 7 starts. For Cassill he has an opportunity to get a fulltime ride for next season. The chase is always exciting for the top 12 drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. However, there are other drivers that are auditioning for 2011 rides that you should keep your eye on as well.