Filed by Lindsey Young
Dale Jarrett may not make it through the season with Robert Yates racing after officially signing a deal to drive for Michael Waltrip and Toyota next year. If the former champion, currently 12th in points, starts falling back, look for Yates to pull the plug and try to get a head start on next year.
The big question is who will that new driver be? Yates has had very little success developing young drivers, prefering to go with veterans. However, with little to choose from, where will he look?
Casey Mears would be one option. He’s still young, but he has enough experience to be able to learn from what Yates could teach him. He could pluck a veteran like Ward Burton or Ted Musgrave off the scrap heap and hope to strike gold.
Maybe the best option is for Yates to purchase one of Jack Roush’s teams. Roush is being pushed to get to the limit of four teams NASCAR has mandated and his partnership with Yates is a logical place to put one of his teams. The obvous choice, for now, is Jamie McMurray’s, but with Mark Martin retiring, Roush could transfer or sell the No. 6 and maybe young driver Todd Kluever with it.
E-mail Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org