Who's who in the 42?

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Who will find themselves running in the fully funded 42 car come next season?!

With the news that there will be a new face in the #42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi, fans are presently left to wonder, who will be in that ride in 2014? Juan Pablo Montoya exits the ride after having plenty of years of failing to prove that he can ascend to the top ranks of Sprint Cup. Sponsorship will not be a problem for this ride as Target is signed on through 2014 and this may be huge help when it comes to attracting drivers to this team. There are three drivers I have in mind that could become candidates for a fulltime cup ride next year.

Considering Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are the hottest names out there right now to score rides at Childress, Penske or Roush Fenway, we will leave them out of the conversation for the 42 car. This leaves us with a plethora of subpar to average drivers to fill a team that has stuck with an average stock car driver since 2007.

There are three drivers that come to mind and none of those three are presently in the cup ranks.

Here are my three potential candidates for the 42 car:

Justin Allgaier

Allgaier is an interesting prospect. He appears to be a high risk, high reward type. While he hasn’t won a lot of races in the Nationwide series, he has won on three different types of tracks. Of his three wins, he has won at Bristol, Chicago and Montreal. Allgaier has been linked to the full time ride of #51 car of the recently sold Phoenix Motorsports, but I think he could also make a push for the 42 car. If he can win a few races this year in Nationwide, you may see Allgaier with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next year.

AJ Allmendinger

Race winner A.J. Allmendinger celebrates
Race winner A.J. Allmendinger celebrates

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Allmendinger has been linked to multiple Sprint Cup rides this year, and after winning at Elkhart Lake in the Nationwide Series this year, it was only a matter of time before he was on everyone’s radar. Allmendinger has the talent to regain a fulltime ride and I think that because he is a similar style driver to Juan Pablo Montoya, he will be looked at by Chip Ganassi with a little more bias. Even though I think Allmendinger will be in a 3rd Penske ride next year, he will definitely be in the conversation for this 42 ride come this offseason.

Jamie McMurray

One scenario I could see play out is a potential shuffle at Earnhardt Ganassi. This shuffle would send Jamie McMurray back to the 42 car, where he drove for first few years of his career. This move would give McMurray a fresh start and add a little bit of nostalgia to a team who hasn’t really been able to grasp on to anything noteworthy as of recent times. This scenario is highly unlikely, but something to think about. A sad but potentially likely situation that may happen is that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing would close their doors and say good bye to the average cup teams that they have been a part of since joining forces back in 2009. Chip Ganassi operates the very successful Target Chip Ganassi Indycar team and would be able to focus solely on that operation as opposed to splitting time between a successful race team and one that has been not nearly successful.

Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

For Theresa Earnhardt, it would be an end to an era of mediocrity. It would be unfortunate to see one of the more prominent names of the Earnhardt family leave the sport. Since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr, DEI, or whatever is left of the organization he created, has never been the same.

I hope that the team continues to strive for excellence and carries on with the 42 Target Chevrolet. Target has been a fixture in this sport for over 10 years now. If Earnhardt Ganassi folds, it is almost inevitable that Target will leave the sport and I think that will be unfortunate news for NASCAR. Hopefully the grass will be greener for Earnhardt Ganassi in 2014 and we will see the two car operation back in full force.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Commentary
Tags allgaier, allmendinger, earnhardt, ganassi, mcmurray, montoya, silly season