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Young Guns Looking For Fresh Starts

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Brian Vickers and Casey Mears are shopping around for new rides for next season. Out of the two drivers Brian Vickers is probably the most shocking, since he was offered, and accepted, a contract extension to 2009 by Rick Hendrick. Out of the 4 Hendrick cars Vickers' is the least successful with only 14 top 10's, no point wins and finishing no higher than 17th in the standings in the last 2 years. Some people are upset at Vickers saying he is ungrateful for what Rick Hendrick has done for him and that he owes Rick something since it was Rick's son that brought Brian into the Cup ride before he died with Rick keeping him on ever since. What about looking at it from Brian's point of view? As I understand it Rick's son and Brian were best friends - imagine going into work everyday with the constant reminder that the reason you are there is because of your dead best friend? Then try to live up to the expectations placed on you because you are the 'chosen one' to keep your friend's memory alive. Tough situation.

Or Brian could just be leaving because the performance of the 25 car is just not there. Look at the history of the 25 car, it hasn't had a consistent season since Kenny Schrader drove it over 10 years ago. Although it had a brief stint as the 50 car to celebrate NASCAR's 50th birthday, the history is right there for all to look up, it hasn't been a winning team, or even a contender, for years. I also think Rick Hendrick gave up too early on Ricky Craven (who took over for Schrader when he left) after his head injuries when he drove that car, and the success and performance has steadily been on a decline since then.

Casey Mears on the other hand is making a good decision leaving Chip Ganassi racing. Although Ganassi's Cup program has gotten better over the last few years it seems to have leveled off, even Jammie McMurray left (although that doesn't seem like a good idea right now). Mears' performance has not been there on a consistent basis, and it is just not working at Ganassi Racing. Time to move on.

Where will they end up? Driving a Toyota is the best bet, but don't count out the empty 88 seat at RYR - although UPS might not be back as the primary sponsor. Unless the Toyota teams lure out some big names to fill their seats drivers like Vickers and Mears (disgruntled young guns and future young guns in Busch) will end up driving Toyotas next year.